Saturday, 29 January 2011

A Year in Book 2011 - The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman has written one of those books that I guess publishers dream of...... a children's book that adults will be happy to read on the tube. The book start with a family being butchered by a darkly dressed assassin. Only one of the children, a toddler, survives. Taken in by the ghosts of a local graveyard and protected by his new guardian Silas who is neither one of the dead or one of the living, the boy is named Nobody or Bod for short.

The book follows Bod as he grows up with the early chapters acting as short stories as Bod meets the various inhabitants of the graveyard and eventually ventures outside its boundaries.

The final chapter sees Bod reach his teenage years an pulls together the various threads of the previous chapters as Bod eventually faces the men behind his first families murder.

It's one of those great children's books that doesnt treat the reader like an idiot , thus the appeal (along with Gaiman's track record in fantasy) that makes it a good read for adults. The array of ghostly characters are well drawn. The structure works in that the seemingly disconnected early adventures all have apart to play in the final showdown. The ending is neat , packs an emotional punch but in hinting at a world beyond both the graveyard of ghosts and the towns of the living it lets imagination run and leaves you wanting to find out more.

It is also worth mentioning the wonderful illustrations that start every chapter, they have just the right level of the mysterious, strangely comforting with a hint of menace

If you have an 8 or 9 year old , buy it for bed time reading and use them as an excuse to meet Bod and his ghostly family

You can buy the Graveyard book here


  1. I recently read The Graveyard Book because my 6 year old loved the Coraline movie. I was curious about the author and now I'm totally hooked on Neil Gaiman's books. I particularly loved Stardust.

    By the way, thank you for the recommendations. Probably my favorite book of last year was "All My Friends Are Superheroes" which was reviewed on this site.

  2. Thanks Javier
    The only other Gaiman book I've read is American Gods

    Andre Kaufman has a new one coming out later in the year that sounds just as quirky - The Tiny Wife
    I red the following on a blog of one of the people who are going to publish it (not until sept)
    The Tiny Wife, a novella that I think fans of AMFAS are going to love. It is about a bank robbery in Toronto, only the robber doesn't actually steal any money. Instead he takes items of sentimental value. Later, strange things start to happen to the victims. The narrator's wife, for example, starts to shrink. Another woman turns to candy. It is all rather odd but absolutely delightful.


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