Friday, November 12, 2010

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Having read and enjoyed a couple of Neil Gaiman's books - notabably the Anansi Boys and Stardust - I was given The Graveyard Book to read, and I'm so glad I did.

Aimed at all ages, but principally a children's book, it is a typical Neil Gaiman book - just a little off centre, or almost normal,but with a supernatural twist.

A toddler escapes his bed at the precise moment that the rest of his family are murdered by a knife wielding "Jack". The child toddles out, along the road and into an old graveyard where the residents take it upon themselves to protect and look after him by giving him the Freedom of the Graveyard.

He becomes Nobody (Bod) Owens and grows up quite normal - even if he does happen to have parents, carers, teachers and friends that have long since passed over and are invisible to everyone else. Chats with, for example, long dead poets, an old Roman, ghouls and even the non-dead (but not alive either) make for a emminently enjoyable read.

His education is, to say the least, interesting. Of course instruction in things like how to Fade, Dreamwalk and ask for help in numerous supernatural languages, is of questionable benefit in the land of the living. Nevertheless, he IS a living boy and as such does long to be outside the graveyard. However venturing outside also means that his protectors have limited power to help him and the mysterious Jack could find him again and finally finish his work of so many years ago.

An adventure story sprinkled with wisdom, mystery and excitement, I urge you to read and enjoy.... and start looking for more books by this wonderful author.