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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders (P.S.)

by

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders (P.S.) Cover

 

Staff Pick

Fantasy author Gaiman is at his best in this short story collection, which contains an embarrassing riches of storytelling that is at times dark, funny, terrifying, beautiful, and always brilliant.
Recommended by Chris Bolton, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night...

In a Hugo Award-winning story, a great detective must solve a most unsettling royal murder in a strangely altered Victorian England...

Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams — and nightmares...

These marvelous creations and more showcase the unparalleled invention and storytelling brilliance — as well as the terrifyingly dark and entertaining sense of humor — of the incomparable Neil Gaiman. By turns delightful, disturbing, and diverting, Fragile Things is a gift of literary enchantment from one of the most original writers of our time.

Review:

"Hot off the critical success of Anansi Boys, Gaiman offers this largely disappointing medley that feels like a collection of idea seeds that have yet to mature. Among the ground covered: an old woman eats her cat alive, slowly; two teenage boys fumble through a house party attended by preternaturally attractive aliens; a raven convinces a writer attempting realism to give way to fantastical inclinations. A few poems, heartfelt or playfully musical, pockmark the collection. At his best, Gaiman has a deft touch for surprise and inventiveness, and there are inspired moments, including one story that brings the months of the year to life and imagines them having a board meeting. (September is an 'elegant creature of mock solicitude,' while April is sensitive but cruel; they don't get along), but most of these stories rely too heavily on the stock-in-trade of horror, sci-fi and fantasy. Gaiman only once or twice gives himself the space necessary to lock the reader's attention. 150,000 announced first printing." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"You've maybe heard some academic theory about how fairy tales weren't composed by any single author, that they somehow knitted themselves out of folk-consciousness. Baloney. To be sure, the tales might have been improved here and there over the years. But if you want to know the kind of person who would have made up the prototype classic fairy tale or even those urban folk tales doing the rounds,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Gaiman again proves himself a perverse romantic....He wears his pop cred in boldface, and street-smart hipness saturates these eerie epiphanies. But the collection also boasts lush prose, a lack of irony and a winning faith in the enchantment of stories." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"[These stories] exude the romanticism, often erotic, that makes [Gaiman's] first two novels, Neverwhere and Stardust, for all their darkness and grit, so powerfully attractive....One delight after another." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Gaiman follows no overarching theme, but that is what makes these stories charming, at times creepy, and good fun....[H]ighly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"The tales of Fragile Things are nibbles and bits of Gaiman's immensely satisfying inner landscape. They are fiercely playful and very grim, wisps of whimsy and wonder buoyed by the happy heart of a tragic poet." USA Today

Review:

"[Gaiman] can't resist using many of the pieces as stages themselves, having deftly drawn characters tell strange, or sweet, or eerie, or heartfelt stories to others....[P]erhaps, Gaiman relishes the sacred act of telling stories even more than he does writing them." Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Gaiman has fun playing with pop culture, fairy tales and fables, and even when the stories dissolve too easily, a sense of mischief separates him from some of his cliché-addicted peers in the genre." San Diego Union-Tribune

Review:

"The form and content of the collection varies wildly from tale to tale...but nearly all of them show off Gaiman's consistent and considerable craft, along with his contagious enthusiasm for storytelling itself." Newsday

Review:

"The wide variety of selections shows Gaiman's influences and his amazing range as one of the world's most popular fantasy writers....I hope Gaiman has room on his shelf for a few more trophies. Readers will be hard-pressed to find a better collection this year." Rocky Mountain News

Review:

"There's not one piece of prose or poetry in Fragile Things that won't repay re-reading....[W]ords, when they're as well-chosen and deftly arranged as those in this book, can...[stay] with their audience long after the breath and ink that gave them birth have vanished." Seattle Times

Review:

"Readers will be reminded most in these stories of that master craftsman...Ray Bradbury....Gothic tales of high caliber." Baltimore Sun

Review:

"A prodigiously imaginative collection....The best of these clever fantasy metafictions explore the mysteries of artistic inspiration." New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Those with a taste for inventive idiosyncracy will find themselves fully rewarded." San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

Review:

"A powerful and oddly unified collection, a perfect introduction to Gaiman's work for new readers and a thrilling reminder to his long-time fans....[T]he shorter prose form allows Gaiman a greater freedom of whimsy and provocation than even his graphic work, with stunning results." Toronto Star

Synopsis:

The author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Anansi Boys releases his second collection of short fiction. This book includes a novella featuring the hero of Gaiman's masterpiece American Gods and charts the terrain between life and death, perception and reality, darkness and light.

Synopsis:

“A prodigiously imaginative collection.”

—New York Times Book Review, Editors Choice

 

Dazzling tales from a master of the fantastic.”
—Washington Post Book World

 

Fragile Things is a sterling collection of exceptional tales from Neil Gaiman, multiple award-winning (the Hugo, Bram Stoker, Newberry, and Eisner Awards, to name just a few), #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Graveyard Book, Anansi Boys, Coraline, and the groundbreaking Sandman graphic novel series. A uniquely imaginative creator of wonders whose unique storytelling genius has been acclaimed by a host of literary luminaries from Norman Mailer to Stephen King, Gaimans astonishing powers are on glorious displays in Fragile Things. Enter and be amazed!

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is the critically acclaimed, award-winning creator of the Sandman series of graphic novels and author of the novels Anansi Boys, American Gods, Coraline, Stardust, and Neverwhere, the short-fiction collection Smoke and Mirrors, and the bestselling children's books The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish and The Wolves in the Walls (both illustrated by Dave McKean). Originally from England, Gaiman now lives in the United States.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Olivia Olmstead, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Olivia Olmstead)
An excellent set of stories! Some are twisted and surprising, for example "A Study In Emerald" had me literally screaming in my seat as I read it!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Maggie_S, August 6, 2012 (view all comments by Maggie_S)
Wonderful, horrifying, sad, and gruesome stories. A very fine collection from a really fantastic writer. This book would make a good introduction to someone unfamiliar with Mr. Gaiman's writing.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Gold Gato, February 12, 2012 (view all comments by Gold Gato)
This was tough to put down each night. I became so involved with the stories that I thought the book was watching me from the bedstand, calling me back from sleep to start another chapter. Bizarre stories, but the reader stays involved all the way through. Makes for some good nightmares also.

THE DAY THE SAUCERS CAME (no, it's not about killer teacups) is all in verse. Animals speaking in Assyrian, killer bees coming our way...but really it's about a phone call. Strange stuff.

Don't drink Nyquil if you're going to read this at night.

Book Season = Year Round

Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061252020
Subtitle:
Short Fictions and Wonders
Author:
Gaiman, Neil
Author:
by Neil Gaiman
Publisher:
William Morrow Paperbacks
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20071002
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8.02x5.44x1.02 in. .67 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders (P.S.) New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.99 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780061252020 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Fantasy author Gaiman is at his best in this short story collection, which contains an embarrassing riches of storytelling that is at times dark, funny, terrifying, beautiful, and always brilliant.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Hot off the critical success of Anansi Boys, Gaiman offers this largely disappointing medley that feels like a collection of idea seeds that have yet to mature. Among the ground covered: an old woman eats her cat alive, slowly; two teenage boys fumble through a house party attended by preternaturally attractive aliens; a raven convinces a writer attempting realism to give way to fantastical inclinations. A few poems, heartfelt or playfully musical, pockmark the collection. At his best, Gaiman has a deft touch for surprise and inventiveness, and there are inspired moments, including one story that brings the months of the year to life and imagines them having a board meeting. (September is an 'elegant creature of mock solicitude,' while April is sensitive but cruel; they don't get along), but most of these stories rely too heavily on the stock-in-trade of horror, sci-fi and fantasy. Gaiman only once or twice gives himself the space necessary to lock the reader's attention. 150,000 announced first printing." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Gaiman again proves himself a perverse romantic....He wears his pop cred in boldface, and street-smart hipness saturates these eerie epiphanies. But the collection also boasts lush prose, a lack of irony and a winning faith in the enchantment of stories."
"Review" by , "[These stories] exude the romanticism, often erotic, that makes [Gaiman's] first two novels, Neverwhere and Stardust, for all their darkness and grit, so powerfully attractive....One delight after another."
"Review" by , "Gaiman follows no overarching theme, but that is what makes these stories charming, at times creepy, and good fun....[H]ighly recommended."
"Review" by , "The tales of Fragile Things are nibbles and bits of Gaiman's immensely satisfying inner landscape. They are fiercely playful and very grim, wisps of whimsy and wonder buoyed by the happy heart of a tragic poet."
"Review" by , "[Gaiman] can't resist using many of the pieces as stages themselves, having deftly drawn characters tell strange, or sweet, or eerie, or heartfelt stories to others....[P]erhaps, Gaiman relishes the sacred act of telling stories even more than he does writing them."
"Review" by , "Gaiman has fun playing with pop culture, fairy tales and fables, and even when the stories dissolve too easily, a sense of mischief separates him from some of his cliché-addicted peers in the genre."
"Review" by , "The form and content of the collection varies wildly from tale to tale...but nearly all of them show off Gaiman's consistent and considerable craft, along with his contagious enthusiasm for storytelling itself."
"Review" by , "The wide variety of selections shows Gaiman's influences and his amazing range as one of the world's most popular fantasy writers....I hope Gaiman has room on his shelf for a few more trophies. Readers will be hard-pressed to find a better collection this year."
"Review" by , "There's not one piece of prose or poetry in Fragile Things that won't repay re-reading....[W]ords, when they're as well-chosen and deftly arranged as those in this book, can...[stay] with their audience long after the breath and ink that gave them birth have vanished."
"Review" by , "Readers will be reminded most in these stories of that master craftsman...Ray Bradbury....Gothic tales of high caliber."
"Review" by , "A prodigiously imaginative collection....The best of these clever fantasy metafictions explore the mysteries of artistic inspiration."
"Review" by , "Those with a taste for inventive idiosyncracy will find themselves fully rewarded."
"Review" by , "A powerful and oddly unified collection, a perfect introduction to Gaiman's work for new readers and a thrilling reminder to his long-time fans....[T]he shorter prose form allows Gaiman a greater freedom of whimsy and provocation than even his graphic work, with stunning results."
"Synopsis" by , The author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Anansi Boys releases his second collection of short fiction. This book includes a novella featuring the hero of Gaiman's masterpiece American Gods and charts the terrain between life and death, perception and reality, darkness and light.
"Synopsis" by ,

“A prodigiously imaginative collection.”

—New York Times Book Review, Editors Choice

 

Dazzling tales from a master of the fantastic.”
—Washington Post Book World

 

Fragile Things is a sterling collection of exceptional tales from Neil Gaiman, multiple award-winning (the Hugo, Bram Stoker, Newberry, and Eisner Awards, to name just a few), #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Graveyard Book, Anansi Boys, Coraline, and the groundbreaking Sandman graphic novel series. A uniquely imaginative creator of wonders whose unique storytelling genius has been acclaimed by a host of literary luminaries from Norman Mailer to Stephen King, Gaimans astonishing powers are on glorious displays in Fragile Things. Enter and be amazed!

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