Graves and Graveyards : The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
“There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”
As I said yesterday, I’ve tried to keep my re-reads to a minimum, but I've made an exception for The Graveyard Book which I read last year, and didn't need much of an excuse to re-read it. So once I'd got my 10k road race out of the way yesterday, that is precisely what I did, and I spent a very lazy day and evening curled up on the sofa reading.
The Graveyard Book is supposedly a children’s book, but it has quite a few chills, and it opens with the murder of an entire family.
“The knife had done almost everything it was brought to do, and both the knife and the handle were wet.”
But not quite the entire family... The baby is overlooked and crawls out of the house and into the nearby graveyard, where he is taken in and hidden from the killer by the ghostly inhabitants. They name him Bod (short for Nobody) and they feed him, educate him, protect him, and love him.
But they can’t hide him from the world forever and there is sadness and heart-break when Bod grows up and tries to interact with humans, but realizes that he is somehow different. His only human friend, Scarlett, fearfully leaves him, because she says he is “less than human.”
But there is humour too.
"Name the different kinds of people," said Miss Lupescu. "Now."
Bod thought for a moment. "The living," he said. "Er. The dead." He stopped. Then, ". . . Cats?"
I love Gaiman’s writing. No matter what the age-group he’s writing for, or what medium he’s using (poetry, prose, comic, short story, novel) his writing is beautiful, funny and lyrical. This is a lovely, haunting story that will stay with you for a long time.