Neil Gaiman’s “Fragile things,” is a collection of dark-fantasy, horror, sci-fi and speculative fiction that will succeed on turning your minds, and with some of the stories, your stomachs. He is a chameleon of voices, able to create unique narrators with varying tones. Although his style is evident throughout the collection, each piece is breathtakingly fresh and dynamic. Some stories are dark, disturbing, but with a whimsical touch that sugars the words, making it much more enjoyable. The touches of humour poke fun at our human nature, particularly our obliviousness to the fantastical that may exist around us.
Gaiman plays with the surreal and mystery, inserting it so well into the ordinary that the reader may begin to believe that the strange and wonderful could really be just around the corner in our reality. One example of this is his piece, “How to talk to girls at parties,” which follows the adventurous of two hormone-driven teenage boys who crash a party full of what appears to be really hot girls.
The author plays with his readers, many of his stories end with an “oh” factor that may or may not be a surprising twist in the tale. When revisiting the details of the story, one realizes how expertly crafted his storytelling capabilities are. He is a skilled writer, and every detail, no matter how minute and random they appear, becomes a vital thread to the to the overarching fabric of the piece.
Overall, Fragile Things is a collection worth reading, if you are the sort of person who wishes to be surprised, and are willing to be tempted by wondrous possibilities in life. Or if you enjoy the playfulness of time, and reading stories that will curl your toes or make you chuckle. Fragile things’ short stories will make you want to check in the closets and under the bed at night. Those tales of the bogeyman we used to believe as children see just a little less ridiculous upon finishing Gaiman’s tales.