Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fragile Things Readalong - Week 2

I was a little underwhelmed by the most of the reading during this second week of the Fragile Things readalong, hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings as part of RIP VI.

The Hidden Chamber - This is the second poem of the collection, and I liked it a lot more than the first one! In the introduction, Gaiman talked about being asked to come up with something gothic, and with an opening line of "Do not fear the ghosts in this house; they are the least of your worries." the tone is definitely set. At first I read it as a person telling another person about the house, but by the time I go to the end I had decided that it was actually a ghost telling the human. No idea if it is meant to be read that way or not.

Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire - pretty long title for a short story! This is a short story that Gaiman started years ago but it was rejected by the two people he showed it to. Fast forward twenty years or so and the story was reworked and published, winning a Locus award. Whilst I was left wondering what other hidden gems that Gaiman might have sitting around in his house, I am not sure that this was a gem for me! There were mythical creatures, seemingly haunted houses, a struggling author and more, but it just didn't quite come together for this reader!

The Flints of Memory Lane - This piece was written for an anthology of real life ghost stories. I think I missed the imagination!

Closing Time - This was my favourite of the four chapters to be read this week.Take an atmospheric drinking club, some almost strangers and mix in a story from long ago which features abandoned mansions and mysterious events and you have the ingredients for a perfect spooky story! When a young boy wants to be accepted by a group of older boys, how far will he go in accepting the challenges they set for him, and what will be the consequences for them all!

Looking forward to reading the next section of the book for next week's post.


  1. I didn't love any of these stories either. They had redeeming qualities for the most part, but I am hoping for better with future reads.

  2. I still haven't read any Gaiman....looks like this might not be the place to start. Thou I do love that cover. It looks like the lobby art in our botanical gardens visitor center...

  3. Pam, I think like any short story collections there are some that are better than other. I really enjoyed one of the stories last week and liked the rest, so I think it might just be this week's selection.

    Kelly, me too!

  4. I, too, was missing the imagination in The Flints of Memory Lane. It fell a little flat for me because of it! :(

    Closing Time was also my favorite. Very creepy! Perfect reading for this time of the year.

  5. I don't think your interpretation of The Hidden Chamber is "wrong", as that is the beauty of stories. It is however an interpretation of a Bluebeard story and as such does lend itself to some specific interpretations (or at least a specific outline) because of the Bluebeard folk tales which Gaiman mentions in his introduction.

    You are not alone, I too wonder just what else is hidden in Gaiman's house. My friend Jeff and I often talk about the fact that he seems to be the kind of author who would have a clause in his will for all his unpublished work to be destroyed as you don't see him just floating stuff out there. I'd hate to see that happen. I imagine he has interesting story snippets stuck everywhere!

    There is definitely a perfect mix of spooky elements in Closing Time. I give Gaiman kudos for making me feel creeped out by a house in broad daylight! I wouldn't want to visit it even in the light of day. I would love to visit that bar though.

  6. I felt like Flints was a miss for me, but I absolutely loved the other three selections this week. I'm also curious as to what other random fragments he has lying around.

    I agree that the Hidden Chamber's opening line was excellent. I thought it was so interesting the poem was written from Bluebeard's point of view.

  7. Bookswithoutanypictures, it is interesting to see how everyone reacts differently to the different stories.

    Carl, I reckon that bar would make a perfect location for a Halloween book blogger get together! Guess we will have to settle for a virtual get together instead!

    I am not 100% sure I would have caught the Bluebeard connection if I hadn't read the introduction.

  8. Yes it would! We need a Diogenes Club.

  9. I was reading the description of the bar in Closing Time and I thought, oh, I know where that is!...or more exactly, was.

    My favourite was Forbidden Brides. I really like seeing our different responses to these stories, and why we feel differently about them.

  10. Me too. I don't expect nor would I want everyone to have the same experience I do, which is why I love talking about these.

  11. Funny, I loved all of them except Closing Time, but I'm coming to appreciate it more and more, reading what everyone else thought. I feel like I need to reread all these pieces now that I've read what everyone else thinks about them (and I already read them all once and listened to them all once). Will I make it to the next four?

  12. I'm totally on board for the Diogenese Club! hehe. I also was kind of "bleh" about this weeks stories. I actually liked last week's selection of poetry better, but that's most likely because the Bluebeard story was never really up my alley. I almost kind of liked the "lack of imagination", if that's what it's called, during "Flints". I think the fact that it's so simple and bordering on innocent makes it that much more familiar - it's something that very likely could have happened to me as a child.

    I'm way looking forward to next week's reading chunk, and hearing your thoughts!

  13. I also think the whole idea of Flint's having "lack of imagination" is actually just more skilled writing on Neil's part. The whole "this isn't much of a story" to me is certainly true but he is also skilled enough to write that there in such a way to alter your expectations and in so doing he makes the it "story shaped" in spite of his comments to the contrary.



Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009

Back to TOP