ECKLEBURG BOOK CLUB | The Garden of Fragile Things by Richard J. O’Brien

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In the late 1970s, Joe Godwin was just twelve years old, living in a working-class neighborhood. Plagued by bullies and a volatile home life, Joe spends his time with his three friends in search of adventure. The discovery of an abandon mansion during a simple camping trip in a state forest sets a series of consequences in motion between the boys, the inhabitants of the mansion, and the others who occupy the garden behind the colossal home.


What People Are Saying about The Garden of Fragile Things

“From the first paragraphs, The Garden of Fragile Things holds you in its charm. Anyone who is young, anyone who can or wants to remember the mystery, enchantment, and fragility of youth will enjoy the rich mystery of O’Brien’s Garden of Fragile Things. You won’t want to put it down — and you probably won’t either until there are no more pages to turn.”

~Thomas E. Kennedy, author of In the Company of Angels, Falling Sideways, and Kerrigan in Copenhagen (A New York Times Notable Book)

The Garden of Fragile Things is a literary dark tale that chronicles four boys’ coming of age against paranormal forces that operate between two worlds.

A dark fantasy bildungsroman in the tradition of Stephen King’s It and Robert McCammon’s Boy’s Life (although, frankly, much better than McCammon in almost every way), Richard J. O’Brien’s The Garden of Fragile Things tells the story of Joe Godwin and three friends all growing up in Yorkville, New Jersey, in the 1970s. In addition to the usual friendships, bullies and sexual awakening traditional in the coming-of-age tale, Joe and his friends also encounter murder, ghosts and something across Hobbs Creek in Franklin Forest—something “eldritch,” to use one of the novel’s recurring words, part Tolkien, part Lovecraft—that will change them forever.

~R.G. Evans


Publisher’s Information

  • PUBLISHER: Dark Alley Press/Vagabondage Press
  • ISBN: 978-0692393222
  • DIMENSIONS: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • PAGES: 236]
  • PRICE: $15.95
  • RELEASE DATE: 06/16/2015
  • PURCHASE HERE

  • Recommended Works by Richard J. O’Brien

    Favorite Eckleburg Work: http://eckleburg.org/product/fiction-new-10/

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    Discussion Questions for The Garden of Fragile Things

    1. Do you consider Joe Godwin an unreliable narrator? If so, why? If not, what is it about his narrative that makes reliable?

    2. What events within this story, barring the paranormal occurrences, do children miss out most on in present-day society?

    3. What clues within this novel might tip the reader off that Joe Godwin the narrator may not be as kind and innocent as he seems to be?


    About Richard J. O’Brien

    Richard J. O’Brien grew up in New Jersey. Presently, he lives in Pennsylvania where he writes stories and novels in which things go horribly wrong. When he’s not writing, Richard can be found teaching first-year composition at Temple University, Rowan University, and Stockton University. In addition, he is an instructor with the Eckleburg Workshops where he teaches a course on domestic fabulism. He completed his MFA in Creative at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2012. His stories have appeared in 13 Horror, Disturbed Digest, Encounters Magazine, the now-defunct 13 Stories, Ghostbreakers: Sinister Slueths, Sex and Murder Magazine, and others.




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    In the late 1970s, Joe Godwin was just twelve years old, living in a working-class neighborhood. Plagued by bullies and a volatile home life, Joe spends his time with his three friends in search of adventure. The discovery of an abandon mansion during a simple camping trip in a state forest sets a series of consequences in motion between the boys, the inhabitants of the mansion, and the others who occupy the garden behind the colossal home.

    The Editors