Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders - by Neil Gaiman

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"I like things to be story-shaped.

Reality, however, is not story-shaped, and the eruptions of the odd into our lives are not story-shaped either. They do not end in entirely satisfactory ways. Recounting the strange is like recounting one’s dreams: one can communicate the events of a dream but not the emotional content, the way that a dream can color one’s entire day."

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman is a collection of short stories and poems that marry modern day reality with seemingly antiquated, eerie and fantastical yet almost subliminal elements. Gaiman puts new faces on mythology and weaves unlikely storylines together in a subtle and intriguing way.

I love short stories. Often during longer novels, I get bored and frustrated by the amount of unnecessary filler. Short stories boil-down the content to the basic elements, which generally means that the story has to be an interesting one. This is the case with Gaiman’s collection. Each story is interesting with unexpected turns and riffs on the nature of reality. Metaphoric subjects can be characters within themselves, while gods and monsters wander around within the general population. Nothing is mundane.

For me, the highlight of the collection was the story titled “Other People”. This very short story gave me a completely new opinion on the concept of Hell, and how it might relate to the human condition. We make our own Hell and perhaps it is an action that allows us redemption. An interesting twist is set up with the very first sentence and is executed with the last sentence, which is also indicative of the cyclical notion of the storyline itself.

The Amazon Prime original series, American Gods is how I am most familiar with Neil Gaiman’s work. The last story in this collection is titled “The Monarch of the Glen: An American Gods Novella”, which is a short extension following the storyline in American Gods. I also became more interested in Gaiman’s work after listening to his interview on Tim Ferriss’s podcast Episode #366.

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Joe Enns

Joe Enns Art is a website showing the oil paintings of Joe Enns, an Oil Painter and Fisheries Biologist located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. This website is dedicated to showing the beauty of the natural world, developing oil painting skills, as well as, fisheries and stream conservation and restoration.