Friday, October 23, 2009

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

How do I describe this book? Even I, as an avid fantasy reader, found the summary of the book weird when I read the jacket flap. As an infant Nobody Owens escaped the fate of his family, who were all murdered by a man named Jack. Finding protection in a nearby graveyard the ghosts there raise him, and teach him many things. His guardian Silas tries to protect him as well as he can. Yet, Jack the man who murdered Nobody’s family, is still trying to find him so he can fulfill his old contract to kill him.

So despite the odd description I really enjoyed reading this book. Bod (short for nobody) spends his childhood exploring the graveyard. He finds an indigo man deep under the earth in an old barrow, falls in with a dangerous set of ghouls, makes friends with the ghost of a witch, and explores old mausoleums. I found that the book focused a lot on developing the setting and characters in the graveyard, and I enjoyed discovering its nooks and crannies along with bod. I enjoyed meeting the different ghost characters and following their story arcs, while the overall plot line lurked in the background, waiting to be exposed. Maybe I enjoyed this book so much because I’ve always had a secret fascination with graveyards, especially big old ones. I’ve always wanted to know about the people buried beneath those mysterious headstones.

Such a deep exploration of the setting is precisely what my husband didn’t like about the book. He felt that the plot line with Jack should have been bigger, more dangerous, and more exciting. He didn’t like all the forays into the graveyard dramas. I was left wanting when it came to the background of Jack, but in a good way. In a way that made my imagination run with possibilities, scenarios, and questions. So, while I would have loved to hear more of a background story, what was in the text was sufficient. I would recommend.

Neil Gaiman's Website


Anonymous said...

Is there supposed to be a sequel and thus more about Jack? Or is this it?

Aneeka said...

And the above would be by me :)

Gamila said...

um, I don't know. I think it is a stand alone.