Friday, 3 July 2009

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

A much better novel than Neverwhere, Anansi Boys or Stardust. Quite dark, fantastic and gripping, with a male protagonist who for once is not completely nondescript, although he still tends to be overshadowed by his supporting cast. A very tightly engineered plot too, although some of the credit goes to Kipling, whose Jungle Books this story is partly patterned after.

The dark stuff gets going with a brutal multiple murder in chapter one - awesome way to start a juvenile novel, Mr. Gaiman - and just gets better with a delicious visit to a funereal world where ghouls feast on what it is that ghouls feast on and night gaunts circle overhead. It put me in mind of scenes from Lovecraft's 'The Dream Quest Of Unknown Kadath'. There are lots of other great set-pieces, including a memorable danse macabre, dreamwalking and knock-out final confrontation with the villainous Jacks-Of-All-Trades. The villains, as usual, are exquisitely wicked and genuinely creepy and the roster of supporting characters parallels Kipling's while being memorable in its own right.

Definitely one of his most satisfying long-format works. May even be as good as Coraline.

3 comments:

anomander said...

Finished it about a month ago, and was left with many of the same sentiments. Just something about it that infiltrates and delights. That elusive factor.

Anyways. Hey JP, it's been forever, hope you are well.

JP said...

Hi. Er gosh...who are you? Maybe you were using a different handle when we last interacted?

anomander said...

that's weird.....it's supposed to be saying FM, don't know where the Anomander came from.

How curious.