April 19, 2009

Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe: Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

Yeah, I know, this isn't technically a YA book. But because I started reading Gaiman's Sandman comics as a YA myself, and because I've been sort of a gibbering fangirl ever since, well...it's gotta be done. Honestly, though, if you're a fan of his other work you'll almost certainly enjoy this amazingly diverse collection of short (and somewhat longer) stories and poems. I finished each one amazed by the author's skill in attacking a number of different styles and themes—this is a versatile volume and an excellent showcase of Gaiman's talent and vision. I even enjoyed reading the introductory notes, for crying out loud.

The initial story, "A Study in Emerald," won a Hugo award in 2004 and starts the collection off with a bang—in fact, it's the story that has lingered in my mind the most, perhaps, of all of them, with its dark Lovecraftian setting and its mystery structure. "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" was another memorable piece, maybe because I could so easily picture a young version of the author narrating the uncanny events. Stories of insatiable gourmands seeking a once-in-a-lifetime delectation; bizarre underground circuses; demons, killers, schoolboys...it's a veritable potpourri of strange delights and an awe-inspiring glimpse into the author's imagination. By the time I finished reading it, I was even more of a fan than when I started. Seriously.

Buy Fragile Things from an independent bookstore near you!


Anonymous said...

Another one for my reading list, and it's even checked in here in the library today.

Anonymous said...

I've not seen that particular cover before (the original hardcover that I have is quite different indeed). Very cool cover, and an excellent post.

"Hot to Talk to Girls at Parties" is also in his short story collection for middle grade/teen readers, M is for Magic.

Sarah Stevenson said...

Oh cool--our library has M is for Magic but I hadn't had a chance to pick that one up yet.

Saints and Spinners said...

I think Neil talks about the premise for The Graveyard Book in his intro, too. This is one to revisit. I bought it new, then kept it on my shelf for about 6 months, and was wowed by A Study in Emerald. I used to read the children's versions of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and always meant to go back to them as well.

By the way, Neil Gaiman and I co-authored a book. Ha! Not really, but my fan-girlness is a bit tickled that we both have poems that appear in the same modern fairy tale collection. If I ever meet him at a book signing, I'm bringing my copy for him to sign.

Sarah Stevenson said...

That is so cool, Farida! We're not worthy! We're not worthy! :)