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...show more
by Dorin Emanoil PIRVU