Monday, November 03, 2008

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman is one of those authors whose books I buy simply because they've got his name on the cover. It doesn't really matter what the book's about, I know I'd love it just because he wrote it. Every new story he comes up with always seems fresh, new, and exciting.

He has created so many new worlds for the delighted child in me to play in; with the magical Princess Bride-like world of Stardust, the earth-as-the-gods'-playground theme of American Gods, the nursery-rhymes-turned-reality of Anansi Boys, and my favorite world of all, Neverwhere's surreal, darker version of Alice's Wonderland.

His latest work, The Graveyard Book, creates yet another delightful world, one that I never imagined I would like at all. You can probably guess from the title of the book that it's a world set in a graveyard. One whose inhabitants can be kind and charitable, loving and nurturing, irritable and old-fashioned, friendly and dangerous....

Supposedly listed as a children's book, Gaiman nevertheless has many adult fans, and though the book is written simply in Gaiman's easy manner - the reason I love reading his writing - the story itself is mature and sophisticated.

It revolves around a boy whom the graveyard's inhabitants named Nobody Owens, Bod for short, when a ghostly couple adopted him after his family was murdered. Throughout the book, we follow Bod as he grows up in this unusual setting and learns the ways of the dead while trying to live his life. It isn't easy as he has many dangers to avoid, both from the world of the living and the world of the dead. Worst of all, the man who murdered Bod's family is still out there, looking for Bod so that he can finish what he started.

In many ways, Gaiman's The Graveyard Book is sad and poignant, yet it has its funny moments and terrifying ones as well. I felt sad at the ending, but then I usually do whenever I finish one of Gaiman's books. The wonder of reading a Neil Gaiman story is well worth the pain of saying goodbye to it at the end though, so I'm pretty sure I'll keep reading Gaiman's stories as long as he keeps writing them.

More books from Neil Gaiman:


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