Fragile Things is a book of literary, fantasy short stories Gaiman has written over the years, with a few poems thrown in for flavor. There’s a little bit of everything in the book. October in the Chair imagines the months of the year as people telling tall tales around a fire. A Study in Emerald is sort of a Sherlock Holmes story in reverse.
Most of the stories are pretty dark and bleak though, like Keepsakes and Treasures, in which a mob-like enforcer talks about killing peopleÂ and doing other unsavory things for his employer.Â
Perhaps the most disturbing story for me was The Problem with Susan, which imagines what happened to Susan in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books (she’s the sister who didn’t die and go back to Narnia aka heaven with the other kids). I will never think about Narnia the same way again (A note to my friend Amy: you probably don’t want to read this story. It is that icky at the end).
If you’re looking for easy resolutions and tidy endings, Gaiman is not the guy to read. Most of the stories are ambiguous, leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions about what happens next. Still, the stories made me think and made me interested in reading more of Gaiman’s work. (My significant other has been pestering me to read American Gods for months now).
So, thumbs up.
Another note: To Sam of the Ten Thousand Things, if you haven’t read Gaiman yet (although you probably have), you should read this book. It is the kind of thing you would love, and it reminded me of several things we read back in AP English.
Up next: Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund.