Fragile Things Readalong: Week 6

Hooray!  I enjoyed the tales this week far more than last week’s readings

My Life
What it is:  a poem of sorts that consists of one long ramble from someone the reader can assume is frequenting a pub.  The stories are ridiculous and marvelous.  Sex-changes? Possessed Dishwashers?  General strangeness?  Check. Check. And Check.

Favorite Line:  “I like to think that if / The dishwasher had not been haunted – well, / possessed, I guess would be more accurate — / She’d still be here today…”

What worked for me:  The reality of this poem.  And my reality I mean not the reality of dudebuddy’s stories, but the reality of running into those people with fantastical tales (especially the folks with stories that MAY be true, but most likely isn’t).

Fifteen Painted Cards from a Vampire Tarot
What it is:  A lovely little set of vignettes related to vampire life (erm… unlife?).  I liked some more than others.

Favorite Line:  I can’t really pinpoint one favorite line, but I will say the writing is very strong.  Each vignette hints at a very complex story line.  Hooray for nice, tight writing.

What worked for me:  I think restrained Gaiman works best.  We didn’t have a chance to delve into page after page of explicit sex and violence.  Instead each piece (some are only a few lines and other a few paragraphs) pricks the imagination into filling in the shadowy bits of story — the back story and the future of the principle players.

What didn’t work:  No complaints.  Although I will say I had to focus.  Sometimes with short pieces I tend to read too fast.  I think it works best to make sure you pause between each set of vampire tales in this story.

Feeders and Eaters
What it is:  one of my favorite Gaiman stories so far.  A man boarding at a family home (Mister Barrow) meets another boarder, a woman — Miss Corvier.  The woman is old and seems to be involved in witchcraft (at the very least she is what my dad would call a “dirty hippie”).  Then the cat goes missing.  And Mr. Barrow finds the cat alive and half-eaten.  Things get even more creepy from there!

Favorite Line:  I don’t really have a favorite line.  The entire story is gripping (pun intended harty har har)

What worked:  Yay!  This story is gruesome, but not gruesome for shock value, simply gruesome in classic horror sense.

What didn’t work:  No complaints

Diseasemaker’s Croup
What it is:  Apparently a college-level writing exercise for everyone to read.  Essentially, it is a faux medical description of a fake disease.

What didn’t work:  I didn’t care for this.  I felt like it had no point.  It is as if Professor set a timer and said “describe a macabre disease…. go”.  I think this type of writing is showy and false.  Although to be honest each time I tired to read my eyes just slid over the page.  This may be a Reader (i.e. me) fail and not a Gaiman fail.

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3 comments

  1. “I think restrained Gaiman works best.”
    I have to agree with this sentiment! I really enjoyed Fifteen Painted Cards because you get a full, satisfying story, but it's done in such a small space. It's something that takes a lot more skill than writing gratuitous sex scenes.
    I think this also worked well in Feeders and Eaters, because Gaiman didn't really give us a lot of the details about what was happening to the old woman's man slave. We were left to our own imaginations, and that made it all the more creepy. 🙂 So good.

  2. My Life really is very fun, isn't it? My only complaint is that I wanted to hear more. That guy just has to have more stories to tell.

    The vampire tarot stories are really cleverly executed and I enjoy them more every time I read them. Not only do they work on their own but some also make me wish longer stories would be built off of them.

    Feeders and Eaters is such a great horror story. No disturbing sex, the perfect level of disturbing violence. Just love it.

    While I don't care one way or the other for Diseasemaker's Croup, the Vandermeer's who put this collection together are very creative and I like the overall idea. I'm not sure that I would love the collection. This one works much better listening to Gaiman reading it, that is for sure.

  3. LOL, yet again I regret that I'm not listening to these stories in the audio version – maybe I'd have liked the last one better if so.

    I'm not quite sure I agree about “restrained Gaiman” because he added more to American Gods (which everyone here has probably gathered by now is one of my favourite books *ever*) for the 10th anniversary edition, and I loved it even more. But I do agree about leaving out gratuitous sex. And that these stories work better because they're much more tightly written.

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