Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author Neil Gaiman's collection of extraordinary short stories featuring How to Talk to Girls at Parties, soon to be a major film release starring Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning and Alex Sharp.
From the author American Gods, now a major TV series for Amazon Prime Video, Fragile Things shows one of the world's most gifted storytellers at the height of his powers.
Let me tell you stories of the months of the year, of ghosts and heartbreak, of dread and desire. Or after-hours drinking and unanswered phones, of good deeds and bad days, of trusting wolves and how to talk to girls at parties.
There are stories within stories, whispered in the quiet of the night, shouted above the roar of the day, and played out between lovers and enemies, strangers and friends. But all, all are fragile things made of just 26 letters arranged and rearranged to form tales and imaginings which will dazzle your senses, haunt your imagination and move you to the very depths of your soul.
The 30 short stories and poems in this collection vary widely in theme and tone, from the dark, recursive "Other People" to the witty, R.A. Laffertyesque "Sunbird." Aside from one new tale, "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," all material has been previously published. Gaiman performs admirably as narrator for the most part, changing his style from story to story to better suit the tone of each. However, in the more experimental pieces in the collection, this practice backfires and may leave listeners reaching for the fast-forward button. The poems often work on paper, but when read aloud many feel like disjointed, nonsensical stories. Gaiman is at his best when narrating his more traditional tales, such as the sly and inventive Sherlock Holmes/H.P. Lovecraft pastiche "A Study in Emerald," and the noirish "Keepsakes and Treasures." There are enough terrific stories in the book to make it a must-have for Gaiman fans, but dedicated readers may want to choose the hardcopy edition instead, so as to more easily skip the dross. Simultaneous release with the William Morrow hardcover (Reviews, July 17).