The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

undercliffe 12.8.05 photo credit: Steven Earnshaw

Now even taking into account that fact that, Neil Gaiman is so good at creating the worlds in his books, very little effort is needed from the reader to place you right in there, but having gone to school right across from this place – and spent many a lunchtime wandering though it (there is a wonderful view out over the valley at the end) (and I still live within walking distance), it did feel like Bod’s world was very familiar.

From Wikipedia:
Undercliffe Cemetery is located in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England.

It stands on a hillside overlooking the city and contains some very impressive monuments, in a variety of styles. It is a notable example of a Victorian cemetery in which a number of rich and famous Bradford Dignitories and residents have been buried. Some of them Mayors, Lord Mayors and Mill owners, notably the Illingworth’s memorial.

It is listed by English Heritage in their Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England and is maintained by the Undercliffe Cemetery Charity and volunteers.

photo credit: lant_70

It was a wonderful surprise when I discovered that this had gone on sale early in my local bookshop, as I wasn’t expecting to get my grubby little hands on it until Haloween. And of course we in the UK have had to put up with certain elements in the book blogosphere have been flaunting the fact they had an earlier release date! 😉

So, of course the wallet came out and it had to be bought, there wasn’t any reasonable alternative really!

This is the story of Nobody (Bod) Owens (and anybody that knows me in real life – or has ever had an email from me, will be able to work out why that name makes me smile every time I see it!) Who after escaping the murderer who had just killed the rest of his family, finds himself in a graveyard, where the “locals” decide to take him in and bring him up.

Over the course of the next few chapters, we get to meet his friends and experience his adventures, and he walks the line between the living and the dead, learns why his family was targeted, and why the man Jack is still after him.

The book is an utter, utter delight to read, and is populated with fantastic characters and a fabulous world for them to inhabit. I have seen in mentioned by others, that just like another of Gaiman’s books Coraline it works on many levels, younger readers will find a fantastic adventure, and older readers will as well of course, but will also find some horror lurking beneath the surface.

A note should also go out to Dave Mckean for his wonderful ilustrations, which are just perfect when used along side Gaiman’s writing, but there is another version being released over here illustrated by Chris Riddell and aimed at the childrens market, that I’m looking forward to having a thumb through, first time I manage to spot a copy!

One of my absolute favourite reads of the year!

Other Reviews to look at:

Buy, The Graveyard Book, from Amazon.

18 thoughts on “The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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  • January 17 at 4:40 pm

    Great review, I finally got around to reading this book, the children’s edition is gorgeous I forced myself not to buy it at Christmas as I had to spend my cash on the relatives, I’m sure I’ll end up with a copy fairly soon though.

    katrina´s last blog post: Library Loot

  • October 21 at 2:51 am

    HI Bart! thanks for coming by my blog today! I saw this post about Neil on yours and had to creep away until I finished reading the book. I love the photographs you posted! Do you still live in Bradford? so close to Haworth Moor (which we saw just before we left England in 2001). England seems to bring the best out in writers, something about the layered atmosphere of history and aloneness of being an island, i think; because Gaiman is from England originally, and The Graveyard Book is set there. Anyway, I enjoyed your post also, and I like how you say the book is ‘an utter delight to read’, and how different ages of children will each find something in the book to enjoy.

    Susan´s last blog post: Sunday Salon – It’s all about Neil Gaiman

  • October 20 at 8:13 pm

    @Chris: This is where I should say, “Certainly not old chap, I’m British you know, and I resent your insinuations….” But… I would be lying! Of course I’d have gloated about it!

  • October 20 at 8:07 pm

    @3m: I think I might just extend that audible subscription another month and grab a copy myself, because he’s such a fabulous narrator as well as a writer.

  • October 19 at 10:33 pm

    Ok, tell me you wouldn’t have rubbed in everyone’s face too if you lived in the states :p Fantastic review Bart! Glad you enjoyed it so much. That must have been incredible to have grown up by a cemetery so cool. We have lots of great cemeteries here in New Orleans too, but none like that!

    Chris´s last blog post: The Day After

  • October 19 at 8:32 pm

    Hey, I had no early release date either 😛

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it so much, Bart! I’m kind of tempted to get the edition with the illustrations by Chris Riddell as well. Dave McKean is hard to beat for me, but it’d be neat to have both.

    Those graveyard photos you included are absolutely stunning!

    Nymeth´s last blog post: Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar

  • October 19 at 8:41 pm

    @Nymeth: Oops! I’ll let you off then! 😉

    I wish I could take credit for the photos myself, but I found them on flickr (links are to the owners are under each photo – if you click on them there are plenty more to look at!)

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