The Graveyard Book (2009) – Neil Gaiman


I dug into yet another Gaiman novel, having enjoyed the brief excerpt in his short story collection M is for Magic, I jumped into this one.

There is something about the way he writes, that just makes it feel like a Victorian fairy tale, it’s just the way they feel when I read his writing.

The story follows Nobody Owens, who as a babe is taken in by the folks of the graveyard, and saved from the deadly man Jack, who murdered the rest of his family. Growing up amongst the tombstones, he is looked after by the deceased, taught their ways, and given Freedom of the Graveyard, allowing him to fade, haunt, and dreamwalk.

He’s watched over by Silas, an ancient creature, neither living nor dead, who serves as his protector. He’s friend with a witch who was drowned and burned, and learns history from those who were there.

Nobody, or Bod for short, grows up loved, and happy, in a life filled with magic and adventure, sometimes sought, and other times thrust upon him, but it always makes for good reading.

And somewhere out there, in the living world, the man Jack, is still looking for that little child who got away from him.

The book is composed of incidents throughout Bod’s life, stitched together into a comforting blanket to curl up under while you enter his world. I love how the extraordinary, is made so believable, and you either accept it, and get taken along with the story, or you just don’t enjoy it. Happily for me, I’ve yet to read anything by Gaiman that hasn’t swept me up in its style and story and left me totally enraptured.

Apparently, there is now a graphic novel adaptation of this story already, and I may have to hunt it down to see how some of the characters translated to the visual realm, and how they compare to the images in my head.

There is wonder and magic between these pages, both childlike and adult, and while there, I was happy to be at Bod’s side, chuckled when he did, and felt pain and loss when they struck. I won’t lie, I got a little misty-eyed by story’s end, and loved the way it all wrapped up.

I love how there are all these other things going on around Bod that we get glimpses of, especially in the last quarter of the book as we learn that something big is happening, but we don’t get all the details, just hints, just enough to feed into the main body of the story. I love how Gaiman does that.

I’m stepping away from Gaiman for a couple of books now, but I have no doubt I will return very soon. Have you read this one?





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