Monday, April 13, 2009

Book Review: The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

A family is murdered, except for the smallest member, a toddler about one year old. The baby crawls into a graveyard and this, of all places, becomes his home--a long dead old couple by the name of Owens become his parents, and name him Nobody Owens.

It's amazing how Neil Gaiman is able to create a world of ghosts who become, as we read, more substantial than the living and how he can make a graveyard a place of comfort and safety. He turns the usual cliches and assumptions of 'evil' and 'scary' being associated with the dead and portrays their lives after death and their skills (still useful to educate a present-day child, albeit with some strange and old info) with affection and wit.

He quite literally brings life to the dead (witches, ghouls, werewolves, and more) and reveals how these graveyard guardians, help raise a living child from age one to nearly adulthood.

This Graveyard world is as cosy and magical and dangerous as any fantasy world we've read of in books. Gaiman brings his deep understanding of people, circumstances and emotions to the book, and before we know it, we have become close to this boy with the strange name and especially to his sinister part-alive-part-dead guardian, Silas.

I don't read the horror or vampire genres and the like, but this book I loved.

Wonderful, brilliant book. Highly recommended to young (target audience: 9-12) and old.

The copy I bought cost Rs 390 at Crossword and is an original Harper Trophy publication with black ink illustrations by Dave McKean.


Samprita said...

Wow, I'd certainly like to read this book after reading your review of it.

Jayashree Prasad said...

Nice review Hash! Really feel like getting hold of the book!!

Anonymous said...

Your review has made me determined to get hold of this book and read it, Hash.

Hasmita said...

Thanks, all. Hope you do read it, and enjoy it as much as I did!

ano said...

Hash, you've been tagged.

GM said...

Hi Hash, this book is on my reading list too! Have heard so much about it, am definitely looking forward to reading it after seeing your recommendation.