Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

GraveyardI must be really slow to the party in only having just discovered Neil Gaiman. I mean, of course I knew about him from Coraline (which I’d never read, nor had I seen the movie), but I downloaded an audio version of The Graveyard Book read by the author from Audible and haven’t looked back from Gaiman-land. This book is such an unlikely tongue-in-cheek horror story about a boy who is raised by various ghouls and ghosts in a graveyard to keep him safe after his family is brutally murdered. He learns some tricks from his spectral companions which enable him to prevail in the end (did we really think he wouldn’t)?

The book is structured almost as a series of connected short stories about different periods in the young man’s (Nobody Owens’s) life and is told by an omniscient third person narrator so we get glimpses as readers as to what’s going on in the rest of the world outside the graveyard every now and then.

The characters are lively and engaging, despite mainly being dead, and the plot is intricate despite being a relatively short book. And I simply LOVED Gaiman’s narration. He really gives a sense of exactly what he had in mind with each character as he rendered them on the page. So I highly recommend listening to him reading his own work if you ever get a chance. I picked up Coraline shortly after reading The Graveyard Book and I actually liked the graveyard story better, probably because there was more going on, more characters and a more intricate plot. So if you’ve read Coraline and like Gaiman, I highly recommend this story, particularly in the author’s own voice.