Monday, December 01, 2008

Honourable Mention: The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman

First Published: 2008

The Blurb: “Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Well, he would be perfectly normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belonged to neither the world of the living nor the world of the dead.

“There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the sleer: a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of ghouls: friendship with a witch and much more.

“But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.

“A fascinating story of love and friendship realised in the most unlikely of places, this new novel by bestselling author Neil Gaiman, with illustrations by award-winning Chris Riddel, is set to become a classic.”

The Mention: I could go on about how fantastic this book by Gaiman is but, those who have already read his work already know about his wondrous, twisted imagination. This is a children’s book – one that, as an adult, I simply could not put down – and weaves a story with its heart set in darkness and yet swimming with a refreshing innocence. With this there is a strangeness to the storytelling, in that the early chapters seem almost stand alone short stories until everything moves together at the end.

However, turning my attention to the vampire and an admission that this might have been a ‘Vamp or Not?’ as there is no mention of a vampire at all… but Silas, guardian of Bod, certainly seemed to fit the bill. Look to the blurb, he belongs to neither the world of the living nor that of the dead… he is undead, perhaps. When he and Bod go to a pizza restaurant it is observed within the narrative that he does not eat the salad he orders, it is also noted that the “surface of the table-top was almost mirrored, and, had anyone cared to look, they might have observed that the tall man had no reflection.”

It is said that he has earth in the trunk in which he sleeps, he also admits that, when younger, he was a monster. As well as Bod’s guardian he is part of the Honour Guard, along with a Hound of God (or werewolf to you and I), who guard ‘the borders’.

He is essential to the story of Bod, though his hinted nature is not so important. However this is a book I urge you all to read.


Rhiannon said...

Gaiman is the very best. No one can compare. He inspires me.

I can't wait to read this book!

--Rhiannon Frater

Taliesin_ttlg said...

I highly recommend you do so. I forgot to mention that this is very much a choose your cover book - there are three. The one pictured is the kid's edition and there is an adult and limited edition. The illustrator is different in the adult edition.

CrabStiX said...

Probably one, if not the single best novel I have read this century! As memorable as the Wizard of Oz or the Hobbit it leaves J K Rowling in its shade, if you will excuse the pun. Truly great childrens writing... that being of equal relevance to adults. Highly recommended.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

cheers for that Crabstix