Monday, September 24, 2007

Short Story Sunday.....on Monday Part II

I think there was a meme out there one time that asked "How do you prefer a story to begin: Once Upon a Time or It was a dark and gloomy Evening?" As much as I am a fan of the fairy tale, my very favorite genre is the eerie and the paranormal. So I immediately went for the Dark and Gloomy Evening scenario. This week's Short Stories in the form of Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things fits the bill perfectly!! Ghost Stories seemed to be the writings this weekend...and you may detect a little gushing when you read this!! I'm serious LOVING this book!!

The first story I read yesterday was Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire. (And yes, I do realize that is certainly a mouthful!) I really don't know how Gaiman does it. He can suck a person into a story in the opening line! "Somewhere in the night, someone was writing." The story goes back and forth between a writer and the story he is creating. Without spoiling this wonderful story for anyone, I will just say, it's filled with talking Ravens, the undead, family curses and an elderly aunt chained in the attic!! This story which Gaiman wrote 20 years prior was snubbed by a couple of editors and stuffed away in a box. He pulled it out a few years ago to submit it for an anthology called Gothic! and was awarded the 2005 Locus Award for Best Short Story. (I certainly hope those editors are now working in other industries!)

The Flints of Memory Lane is more of a 4 page memory. It was written for a anthology of true life ghost stories, and is not "story-shaped" as Gaiman so eloquently puts it.

Going Wodwo is a poem written by Gaiman for Terri Windling and is about a wild man of the woods.

And finally, Closing Time is another Ghost story. One late night, years ago, several men were sitting around a London "club" telling stories, when somehow the topic of ghost stories come up. After a couple of "urban legends" are told, one of the men tells a story from his youth. He said it didn't happen to a friend of his. It actually happened to him...and he remembers it as if it were yesterday. The story is about a nine-year-old boy that met up with some other kids on the way home from school one day. They all decide to go to an abandoned mansion called the Swallows. 4 boys started out, but only 1 comes back! An eerie twist at the end is surely what won Gaiman the 2004 Locust Award for Best Short Story!'s my gush: You must read this book!! I have let it be known my utter lack of interest in the short-story. Many times. But with Gaiman telling the tales, I'm going to do a complete 180 and whole-heartedly recommend them!! You are immediately drawn in and although your time is short, completely enthralled!! I can't wait until next Sunday!!


Chris said...

I think horror short stories are more my thing than the regular ole kind. Btw, some of the Classic Club members were wondering where you were. I think they were worried.

jean pierre said...


this is "fragile things" torture!


its bad enough with carl doing his jedi mind-trick cheerleading. now these step-by-step, total immersion, book reviews...!


its brilliant steph. if one judges a review but hom much it makes you want to read a book, then you get 10 out of 10!!

thanks for the great review :)

raidergirl3 said...

I'm going to get Fragile Things to read after I finish Stephen King's short stories. I think it comes out in paperback the beginning of October.
Imagine if Stephen King and Neil Gaiman had babies? Oh, the stories would simply slay everyone.

Stephanie said...

Chris - I like my regular sized horror stories too!! Yeah, I know. I've been hit or miss lately, with my email. I got way behind, and I have 100's of them to read! I will, it will take a few days, but I feel get there.

JP - Thanks!! Yeah...I feel like I'm stringing you along, but that's what I get for reviewing one story at a time. It really IS good!!

RaiderGirl - Oh...Stephen King and Gaiman!! That would be just the coolest!

Literary Feline said...

This does sound good! I was introduced to Neil Gaiman this year and definitely am planning to read more him. Like you, I'm not a big fan of short stories, but every once in a while, I come across a winner. This sounds like a whole book of winners! Thanks for the great review.

Trish said...

I love that you are loving this book. I haven't been doing very well with the Poe since my first weekend...his stories are a lot longer than I anticipated. Urg. :)

Chris said...

Steph, OK, I REALLY can't wait to get to this one now! It's the only Gaiman I haven't yet read. I'm starting The Thirteenth Tale tonight and then it's up next for the RIP Challenge :D

....and Jean Pierre is just cracking me up barfing on everyone's blogs, LOL!

Kimmie said...

I'll have to find Gaiman. I like scary books. BTW, I thought of you yesterday. "The Stand" was on SciFi. All 8 hours. I was in heaven, doing my crocheting boob-tube thing.

raidergirl3 said...

That last comment makes me wonder -is she crocheting a boob-tube, or is she crocheting in a boob-tube?

Rhinoa said...

I need to read this soon, definately next year at the latest. I have a bunch of his novels to read first, but these short stories sound really fun.

Nicola said...! I'm not really into short stories, either, but this sounds like just the thing!

Eva said...

I loved this collection as well. :) That first story you mention, where he's gently mocking gothic lit, was sooo funny!

CoversGirl said...

The longer the R.I.P. 2 challenge continues, the more I want to read this book! I foresee frequent checks of the library catalogue followed by a mad dash in the direction of the first available copy.

heather (errantdreams) said...

IMO, Neil Gaiman is amazing on the whole, but at his best in his short story and poetry work.

Nymeth said...

"Closing Time" is one of my favourite stories on Fragile Times. I love thenm all, though. He is wonderfully talented, isn't he?