The image to the left is the cover from a French edition of “Fragile Things.” I’m a fan of the butterflies.
From this point forward, there may be spoilers.
Intriguing. I wonder if the narrator is reliable or not. Clearly he’s quite sloshed and says many ridiculous things, but knowing Gaiman, who are we to judge whether or not they are true?
Fifteen Painted Cards From a Vampire Tarot
This is one of my favorites thus far. Composed of short snippets of tarot card portraits, this story is about the essence of vampires, including a story of a man meeting a vampire chick at a bar one night. I loved the part where she described the taste of blood as being like V8 juice, but where there’s no option to drink anything but V8 juice for eternity. The absurdity of it is delightful.
The idea of using tarot cards as inspiration also struck me as rather clever. I don’t believe in Tarot or fortunetelling, but I do think that the art found on Tarot cards is unique and beautiful.
Feeders and Eaters
Poor kitty! Poor Eddie! This story was somewhat odd, especially the ending. On one hand, you can tell that Eddie and Miss Corvier do seem to be in love, but on the other hand, generally one doesn’t eat the people one cares about. In the intro, Gaiman states that this story was based on a dream he once had. It’s quite surreal, and I think the last little snippet about the narrator’s train ride home cements the dream-like qualities of the story.
This one needs some context. Gaiman wrote it as part of a collection of stories about imaginary diseases, choosing to write about an imaginary disease in which one makes up imaginary diseases. Clever in the context of the original collection, but I don’t think that it works quite as well here. I had to read it twice to even realize what was going on, as the narrator seems to be afflicted by the very disease that he describes.
There were no Mr. Smith’s lurking in this week’s reading, for which I was quite glad. I enjoyed these selections, which were able to be both chilling and touching. “Fifteen Painted Carts From a Vampire Tarot” was one of my favorite of Gaiman’s stories thus far, which is somewhat interesting considering that it’s conceptually similar to “Strange Little Girls,” which I hadn’t much cared for. I think the ending of this one was what made it work for me; it didn’t feel like a random fragmentation of thoughts, but rather was united by both thematic content and the threads of a narrative.
I hope that everyone enjoyed this week’s selections, and I hope to see everyone next week for the next four stories!