Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fragile Things ~ Neil Gaiman, Week Six

Okay.  Week Six.  You know what it's about, so I'll just give you the requisite links and get on with it: last week, the challenge, the host, and this week's posts.  Does anyone else find themselves resolving weekly to write about each selection as they read it and then not actually doing it and being angry about that every Sunday?  Yeah.  Anyway.  Onward!

"My Life" is kind of a poem, though really just prose broken up, told in the second person to somebody who keeps buying the speaker drinks whose effect on the speaker is apparent.  He tells of the ridiculousness of his childhood and it's okay but honestly, the amount of time it took me to remember what the thing was about should tell you volumes.  Either about the story itself or about how little attention grad school allows me to commit to my own endeavors...

"Fifteen painted Cards from a Vampire Tarot" was actually a pretty enjoyable collection of vignettes based on images from a tarot deck.  I assume that it's a work in progress, because the card numbers span from zero to twenty-two, skipping a few, and Gaiman promises in the introduction to finish the other seven.  I liked this because each little vignette is on its own but some characters seem to carry over and it included creepiness and oddnesss and sex and life, and it works.  I also like the idea of bringing to life an object like that.  Plus, tarot cards are kind of cool.

"Feeders and Eaters" is apparently the story of a dream that Gaiman had and though it seems a little too logically constructed to be the exact dream, it does carry that unreal dreamlike quality in which it kind of makes sense at the time but doesn't really.  It also carries with it an excruciatingly unpleasant image which impressed me based on how well I could imagine it.  This is another story within a story, and the setting of the outside story is perfect: an late-night, mostly empty diner, attended only by those you're least likely to want to talk to.  I imagine a sputtering lightbulb.  Really, it's quite a vivid story.  If you don't like to read about kitties getting hurt, though, this story is not for you.

"Diseasemakers Croup" is kind of clever and amusing and kind of irritating because you're all like "oh that's clever, a disease that only infects hypochondriacs and makes them talk all crazy and what the hell does that mean oh wait the narrator's got it haha oh my god I wish the sentences would make sense I'm getting tired of this make it stop" and then you read the intro and you're like "OH!  It's in a story collection about fictional diseases I would like to read it in that context because that way it would be more fun and have you ever thought about how maybe ALL of these stories would be better in their original contexts because that's what they were written for right? and maybe that's the problem with completist collections like this because yeah you've got everything that writer's written since the last time he put together one of these but the only connection they have is their author and is that really enough? because collections of short stories are more enjoyable when they're written to go together and I'm not just talking about connected short stories but stories that work together which these really don't and maybe that's why I'm having a hard time with this collection and thank goodness for that last story because it worked on its own and not all of these do."  And then your brain gasps and wishes for more punctuation.

Give me a break, I just had two glasses of wine.  Until next week, folks.


  1. I agree on the last story... while the concept makes a lot of sense and is cool within the original collection, in "Fragile Things" it's too out of context to make much sense. I'd be curious to see several of the stories that I didn't really care for where they were originally meant to be, because I think my opinions on them might be different.

  2. I started an elaborate garbled post about the last story and then decided that the original concept hadn't actually been good enough to justify it - I think the way you put it is just right! I liked all the rest, except for the cat, I was too squeamish for that.