The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman

Let me preface this review by stating that I would bear Neil Gaiman’s love child. I know that this would require significant experimental surgery and a long talk with my wife, but, in the end, it would be worth it. I came to this conclusion after reading Sandman, and renewed my decision with American Gods, Neverwhere, and Stardust. And his short stories and poems, some of which are amongst the best I’ve read.

But Anansi Boys was a little meh.

And now the Graveyard Book.

I looked forward to this book for months. It seems a return to Gaiman’s simply delivered and richly textured work that runs through Stardust and many of his short stories. Patterned after the Jungle Book, this is the story of a boy named Nobody who is raised by the shades that inhabit a cemetery, a story told in a series of short-story chapters that gradually develop an over-arching plot which only becomes directly referenced in the last chapter.

I expect to love it. To really love it, as I do Sandman. I expected this to be a book that I would re-read yearly.

I expected too much.

It’s good. I should say that, somewhere. It is – the story is charming and imaginative. There isn’t much borrowed mythology, and what is borrowed is creatively massaged to fit the world of the story.

I suspect my disappointment is a result of the fact that this is a book for young readers. That is, while Gaiman avowed that it was written for readers of all ages, the syntax and story are ultimately simple. And I guess there just wasn’t enough world and wonder replace that lost stimulation.

I strongly suspect that my opinion will evolve with additional reading – this just seems the type of book that I have to be in the right mindset to appreciate.  Maybe your mind is already thusly set.


About Jack

I’m a Southern writer, physicist, and teacher. On this here blog you’ll find my thoughts on books, technology, science, and whatever else I darn well please. View all posts by Jack

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