Friday, April 11, 2008

Bookworm Lounge: Fragile Things

Right now I'm hungrily feasting on Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (2006 HarperCollins Publishers). It's a delicious multi-course meal of previously published short stories and poems.

How to describe it? Take a large bowl of Ray Bradbury's otherworldly characters. Add several heaping tablespoons of pathos from Edgar Allen Poe. Season with dashes of Alice Walker's profound human observations. Serve with beautifully written prose and liquid-flowing poetry. Now you have Fragile Things.

His writing is both terrifyingly dark and humorous. Fans of classic literature will probably recognize his take on Sherlock Holmes and Susan from the Narnia series. I really love the variety of plots: Among the tales, you'll follow a man's miserable introduction to the devil; tour a bizarre circus that results in a mysterious disappearance; and follow a mischievous harlequin who teases a new love, only to find the tables turned on him.

Nothing follows the path as you expect. Reading Fragile Things makes me feel like Alice staring at that weird smoking caterpillar. It's one big mind-fuck, and I like that.

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