BOOK REVIEW – NEIL GAIMAN – THE GRAVEYARD BOOK 2008.
A stark and terrifying variation on Kipling’s The Jungle Book. When a sinister killer, the man Jack, butchers his parents, an 18-month-old baby hides away and crawls off into an old graveyard, where friendly ghosts raise him until he is a teenager. The boy, called nobody, learns some of the magic associated with ghosts, and a vampire and a werewolf support him.
His life is not without dangers. A snake-like demon called the Sleen expects nobody to find it a new master, and he finds himself briefly kidnapped by ghouls from an underworld dimension. Nobody finds a human girl who befriends him, but they don’t meet again for many years.
Nobody is lonely though, and an attempt to send him to human school attracts attention from bullies though nobody frightens them away with his special gifts.
The man Jack, actually the leader of a Masonic order of Jacks, knows Nobody is alive, and seeks him out, knowing from prophesy that the boy will wipe out the Jacks. When Nobody’s lady friend returns home to London, having lived in Scotland, she unwittingly becomes a pawn in a trap set by the Jacks, who nobody destroys. His monstrous powers shock the girl, and she leaves him.
As nobody grows, the ghosts abandon him, and he sets out to new adventures without most of his powers, in the uncertain World of the living.
T his is highly inventive, riveting story telling, for children, without the comfort of happy ever afters.
Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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