Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2008)

This is the second time in almost as many years that I've read The Graveyard Book.  I finished it last night, and I was all prickly and tingly and full of the book that I didn't want to really read anything else.  I just wanted The Graveyard Book to settle down over me and in me while I fell asleep.  It's such an electrically charged book; it almost shocks you when you pick it up.  I'm going to re-read The Jungle Books for the umpteenth time, to see exactly how much they are alike and different.  The Graveyard Book isn't just a modern re-telling of The Jungle Books, or a horror/suspense/fantasy re-telling either.  An homage maybe?   There is a hint of Peter Pan ("Boy? What're you doing?"), definitely some Tolkien ("The Hounds of God" is like this marvelous cross between "Kaa's Hunting" in The Jungle Books and "The Uruk-Hai" from The Two Towers, and also something marvelously, magically, mysteriously pure Gaiman as well).  Having read The Graveyard Book a few weeks after The Ocean At the End of the Lane, the Gaiman world is definitely a connected, related, whole world; the books might not be brothers, but they are definitely cousins.  I'm on a Gaiman reading kick, re-reading some older stuff, and reading some other things for the first time, and I'm very curious to see if this rings true throughout the canon of Gaiman.

The Graveyard BookThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My second time to read The Graveyard Book in almost as many years, and I was even more impressed the second time around.  I finished it last night at about 11:30 p.m., and I was so pleasantly prickly and tingly and full of the book that I certainly wasn't ready to pick up and start anything else right away.  I just wanted The Graveyard Book to settle down over me and in me while I fell asleep.  It's not a perfect book - I think the whole Honour Guard thing is a bit cheesy in a summer blockbuster kind of way - but the cleverness and writing and overall feeling of the book smothers than cheese (perhaps if I'm going to follow this idea of cheese down an almost trite rabbit hole, I'm going to say "smothers the stench of limburger").  Gaiman definitely has created a world here, that seems to stretch from book to book; for example, if The Graveyard Book and The Ocean at the End of the Lane aren't brothers, they are definitely cousins.  The Gaiman canon is a magical, mysterious, marvelous one.

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