Price: 375 INR
“Dazzling tales from a master of the fantastic.”
— Washington Post Book World
The real world is no place for a great story and no one knows it better than Neil Gaiman. ‘Fragile Things‘ is a delicacy of short fiction and poetry served alongside a highly palatable cream of square worlds and rainbow seas. Much like his previous work, he has managed to pitch this one over brick walls and onto his eager readers delivering the freedom of an open sky.
The title of the book is itself the composition of a dream; and swimming through the pages you quickly grow to realise you’d have no other way. Dreams are as liberating as things can be. A highly entertaining read, it indulges strongly in themes related to ones search for creative inspiration, featuring protagonists such as musicians, journalists and writers. The book is however not restricted to a theme and stretches farther, wider and away from the violations of recurrence.
The collection also manages to portray a degree of eeriness and a certain manner of happy bleakness through most of its pages. And where that character lacks, a sufficient other one of comic indulgence picks you up promptly and swiftly. The book won the 2007 Locus award for best collection and several of its members are themselves winners of Locus Awards for best short stories.
“How to talk to girls at parties” is set around two boys, a party and the comic turns of pretty exchange students turning out to be more exotic than they seem. The story won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story as well as the Locus Award in 2008.
“October in a chair”, my pick of the lot features the different months of the year sitting by a warm camp fire and exchanging their stories. The story is well thought out, highly imaginative and simple. Several stories in the book conjure within themselves inter-tale portals, with “The study in Emerald” combining the themes of HP Lovecraft and Arthur Conan Doyle, and the “Problem of Susan” merging C.S Lewis’s work with a few distressing twists.
The poems in the book are no less fanciful than the stories. They can be gobbled up in an instant, leaving the readers scramming for the first line and a second read. ‘The day the saucers came’ is one such poem that makes you wonder why you couldn’t think of the simple yet highly lucid demonstration before he did. The collection also includes the inspiration behind, and the origin of each piece giving the readers the pleasure of knowing how Neil Gaiman does what he does.
The book is a must read for all fans of fantasy and in fact for anyone who wishes to denounce their homework as a bad cover-up for something brilliant and dreamlike.
“There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.”
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
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