36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Fragile (and Uneven) Things,
This review is from: Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders (Hardcover)
This excellent story collection is a bit like a pop CD that is frontloaded with its best material. Thus, if this book had ended on page 112, I would have been quite happy. This book's interstitial poems aside (which Gaiman essentially apologizes for in the author's notes), the stories up to that point range from good to brilliant. It's a fantastic run of storytelling, and I was sad to see it end.
But end it does. From there in, the tales range from:
-- the unbelievable ("Keepsakes and Treasures") and yes, I use the word advisedly...
-- to the uninspired ("Good Boys Deserve Favors")...
-- to the unfortunate, namely, CD liner notes for Neil's "personal friend," Tori Amos ("Strange Little Girls")...
-- and sometimes, back to the excellent ("The Monarch of the Glen," among others).
I think that part of the problem with the material stems from the fact that people apparently ring Gaiman asking him to contribute for specialty anthologies. ("Neil, I'm putting together a collection of stories about gargoyles. Are you in?") This type of "spec work" is perhaps not the best way to seek inspiration. So to continue my previous analogy, this book's substandard material should be thought of as a CD's bonus tracks.
That said, FRAGILE THINGS is a mostly enjoyable read, and to reiterate, the first third of the book alone is worth the price of admission.