This is a pretty long book for a collection of short stories, especially when a few of the stories are only a page long. I've read anthologies before but it isn't quite the same thing, this is only one author. To be honest though, sometimes it didn't feel like just Gaiman. I was pleasantly surprised to see such versatility in the stories of Fragile Things. There was some great stories in there and some weird ones and some cough crap ones cough. I talk about versatility because I have written in pervious posts that Gaiman writes one thing and one thing well, his well known books are about a man being thrust into a magical world and dealing with that transition, there isn't any of that here. There is a large clash of genres as well, horror, fantasy and poems. Funnily enough, the poems I didn't like :)
Here are a list of my favourites, in order of awesomeness :P
"Bitter Grounds" It is my favourite, just an incredible amount of depth. I like at the start it hints at the life of the character before he decided to leave it all behind. Then very quickly we get involved in a strange and vibrant lifestyle in New Orleans. It was going with the flow that lead the main character there and a strange chance meeting with a man. I wonder if the chance meeting meant more then I originally thought, he did say a few times about "meeting people and coincides" or something. I might be over thinking it.
"Closing time" I was actually really nervous about reading it, the eerie setting of the club and the man starting with 'it happened to me' and then the twist! What a GREAT story! The atmosphere was tense and i felt it in my bedroom while I was reading. The slow build up and the confusion of the young boys in the story was amazing. The visuals that Gaiman created for me was astounding, I felt like I could see what those boys were doing. It was like watching a movie, rather then reading a book.
"Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire"
I really loved this one! I really enjoyed the two story lines and the interweaving of his reality and our own. It was a really nice stylistic change. The tone was more horror then fantasy and it was so beautiful to read. The twists and turns in one of the stories keep it fresh and the effort to understand the blaring similarities in stories but getting no satisfaction at the end drove me crazy. I really liked that though, it seems Gaiman just wanted to tease the reader.
Unfortunately it was down hill from here. There were a few more good ones but the second half of the book was a huge flop for me. I think the draw card was meant to be the "American Gods' novella, but that wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be. Shadow was such a good in American Gods but not in this story, great twist in there though, really great.
3 out of 5 ghost stories in a dark and almost empty pub. (The three stories mentioned above brings it up from a 2.5)