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The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Dave McKean

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  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Format: Hardback | 312 pages
  • Dimensions: 216mm x 279mm x 20mm | 204g
  • Publication date: 1 October 2008
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0060530928
  • ISBN 13: 9780060530921
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 23,969

Product description

In his first full-length novel for middle-graders since the international bestseller Coraline, Neil Gaiman introduces Bod, a boy who is the only living resident of a graveyard. Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead?

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Customer reviews

By Dorin Emanoil PIRVU 11 Jul 2010 5

Tonight, I was supposed to be at a concert. Totally slipped off my mind, for various reasons, but this got me around to finishing reading my first Gaiman book.

I've heard not long ago of Neil Gaiman, brought to my attention by a fellow reader who mentioned "American Gods". Thought that would be interesting, never got around to actually buying and reading it. And then I realised Gaiman also wrote Stardust, which I had previousely watched in cinema, and... liked...

Third time's a charm, they say. And when Romanian Publishing House NEMIRA announced they were preparing 2009 Hugo Award winning The Graveyard Book, I finally decided I had to read something by Neil Gaiman. Enters Bookdepository, a recently discovered friend in terms of books, and here we are.

That's the story behind getting to read indeed one of the best piecese of fantasy I've read in a while. I'm not going to tell you much details about the story inside the book, as I am sure Gaiman fans already know about it. Ok, maybe just a little, just a teasing hint of what macabres awaits you in the shadows...

For some personal reasons, my most favourite writing for children (and grown-ups, even) has been Kippling's The Jungle Books. Have you read it? It's a fascinating story of a boy grown by a wolves' family, somewhere in the Indian jungle. Well, the story in The Graveyard Book is... the story of an orphaned boy that ends up in a graveyard and is raised, exactly, by its inhabitants.

The chapters are written in the tone of short stories and introduce the reader to a fascinating world of the dead, the living, and the inbetween: you've got the regular inhabitants of graveyards, and then there's Silas. You've got ghouls, and then there's Miss Lupescu. You've got the living that dance with the dead, the drowned and burned witch of the potter's field, the poet, the architect, the doctor, the Roman,... and then there's the Jacks-of-all-trades, the ones that killed the boy's family in the first act.

Years pass-by and our protagonist gets to learn the ways of the dead, the ways of the living, what it's like to live among the dead and what it's like to feel the envy of the living.

Each chapter has its own charm, every phrase lets you wondering what's he going to do next, and every character fits into the scene as a piece of the puzzle. Even if the story is chronologically linear, it's only in the end that you get to see all pieces of the graveyard puzzle come into place, to succumb to the alert writing, to want more, to hope, to fear, to wish, to long, to dispair and to finally accept.

Of all characters, brilliantly presented by the author, my favourites (and probably not only mine), were obviousely Silas, the boy's Guardian, neither dead nor living, and Miss Lupescu, the boy's teacher. Silas is a member of the Honour Guard and it is hinted at that he is a vampire, but never out-right stated in the book (yet Gaiman has confirmed Silas as a vampire in interviews). In regards of Miss Lupescu, I will only tell my non-Romanian readers that her name is Romanian and comes from Lup (= wolf) and escu (common Romanian name suffix). Now go figure what she can do... :D

Hmm... looks like I haven't said much of the main character, the baby that survives the killing... Oh well, that's because he's just... Nobody... :D


Ok, enough is enough, I should rest here and not spoil the goods for you guys out there wanting to read the book. It's a great children's fantasy novel and I definitely recommend it for lecture, for your child, or for the child in you...

Review quote

"I wish my younger self could have had the opportunity to read and re-read this wonderful book, and my older self wishes that I had written it."--Garth Nix, author of The Abhorsen Trilogy

Back cover copy

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack--who has already killed Bod's family. . . .Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, the graveyard book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.