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Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline (edition 2004)

by Neil Gaiman

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Zeruhur's review
Quanti di voi da bambini hanno avuto paura del buio? Il buio rappresenta l'ignoto: "La più antica e potente emozione umana è la paura e la paura più antica e potente è la paura dell'ignoto" diceva Lovecraft.
Ricordate la sensazione di smarrimento e terrore provata di fronte ad una porta aperta, magari su un corridoio, che dava su una stanza buia?
Non è difficile provare la stessa sensazione leggendo le dense pagine di Coraline.
Viene etichettato come libro per bambini e non difficilmente lo troverete nello scaffale dedicato alla letteratura per l'infanzia, ma a mio modesto parere questo racconto è pienamente fruibile da un adulto che viene prepotentemente trasportato nuovamente nell'infanzia dalla penna di Gaiman.
Avendolo letto di notte non provo vergogna nel riconoscere di aver fatto i salti nel letto all'accenno del più piccolo rumore. Questa è la magia di Coraline: una prosa asciutta ma evocatrice.
La protagonista del racconto attraversa il corridoio buio e si trova catapultata in una grottesca imitazione del mondo reale, dove tutti hanno dei bottoni al posto degli occhi. Non impiega molto a scoprire l'orrenda verità, eppure come altri protagonisti di Gaiman che si trovano intrappolati in altri mondi (mi vengono in mente Helena del sottovalutato film MirrorMask o il sempre valido Richard Mayhew di Nessun Dove) non si lascia sopraffare dalle circostanze, ma anzi vivendo l'impossibile riesce a sopravvivere e a crescere.
Il tutto è accompagnato dalle grottesche e terrificanti illustrazioni di Dave McKean, spesso socio di Gaiman e insostituibile complemento delle sue narrazioni.
Forse la magia di questo scrittore, più di ogni altra cosa è la capacità di evocare e trasportarci nei mondi da lui creati. ( )
  Zeruhur | May 26, 2012 |
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The book Coraline by Neil Gaiman is very intresting and different. The main character is Coraline who is an exploror, and she's very good at finding things. One day she came across a trap door that led to a different world. Coraline is supposably a very unhappy child. Her mother doesn't buy her what she wants and her dad is a terrible cook. They pay little atention to her and aren't very exciting. So she traveled to the world wanting to explor it. There, she met her 'other' mother and father. Who are intresting, cook deliciously, and are much nicer. They spoil her and want her to stay with them forever and all she has to do is let them sew buttons into her eyes, just like them. She refuses and goes back home, and her parents are missing! She goes on an adventrue and a exploration to find her parents and the lost soals of the other children. Her other mother is very tricky but in the end she is very happy with her parents and is appreciative with everything she has. My REVIEW ----
I think this book is very spooky. The pictures especially are creepy and almost give you nightmears. Coraline seems to be afraid of nothing. Which doesn't appeal to me since i am very scared of the slightest things. So i did not relate to her. I really enjoy the plot line and the ideas of the stroy. I really like the way Neil Gaiman writes. In the story I particulary liked the cat. Not only do I love cats but he is a very intresting character that really completes the stroy with his comments and help. The movie I did not particularly like because it was very odd so i was weary about reading the book but I enjoyed it. ( )
  YuliaS.B1 | Apr 14, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Coraline’s family has just moved into a new flat. Her parents are always busy with their own work and Coraline (please don’t call her Caroline) has no friends or siblings to play with. She spends her time exploring her new apartment complex and the surrounding grounds. She’s got some eccentric neighbors: two little old ladies who love to reminisce about their time on the stage and an old man who trains mice to sing and dance.

But what’s really strange is the extra door in Coraline’s flat. It doesn’t go anywhere. Coraline’s mom says it used to connect to the vacant flat next door, but now it’s bricked up. Except that it’s not always bricked up... sometimes it does go somewhere…

Coraline is a terrific little heroine. Curious and brave, but appropriately cautious, she sets out to discover what’s in the vacant flat. And though what’s there seems rather wonderful at first, Coraline soon realizes that it’s actually rather horrible. Not in a bloody gory kind of way, but in a spooky, spine-tingling, why-the-heck-is-this-so-scary kind of way.

Neil Gaiman understands creepy: buttons for eyes, long red tapping fingernails, long dark hallways, talking rats, trapped and soulless children… I’m not sure why, but just the thought of an “other mother” automatically evokes goosebumps — How incredibly disturbing! The eeriness is accented with excellently terrifying drawings by Dave McKean (who did the Sandman covers).

Coraline is excellent fantasy for sensitive but brave children who like to squirm. I read it to my daughters, and I’m sure I squirmed just as much as they did. My girls enjoyed Coraline’s adventure and maybe now they’ll even be a little less put out when Mommy is too busy to play. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Coraline is a short young adult book. It is very good. This Harper edition has illustrations by Dave McKean which are excellent but probably not intuitive for younger readers. They would be more intelligible for adults. In any case, it was good to have the text broken up on the page by something curious and confusing. At 163 pages, I like to vary my reading by length of the book to stretch my attention span or shorten it up. Coraline is terse but descriptive while introducing readers to new vocabulary above their normal level of exposure. Gaiman, by the first page you are captured by its story. It even has a decent, off handish, first line, “Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house.” You have a house, Coraline, finding out who ‘they’ are, and a door. It’s all there in the first line. The line will be easy to identify forevermore, like Dante’s “I awoke in the midway point of life to find myself lost in a deep dark wood,” Genesis, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,”or Shakepeare’s Richard III, “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York.” Regarding the layout, I like the drop caps initial letter of each chapter followed by the all caps first line. It’s just something I notice and appreciate especially for fairy tales. The book jacket indicates “ages 8 and up” but I would recommend Coraline to anyone. The action takes place somewhere in England, a train’s ride from London, but without specific designation. Although everyone is publishing children’s books nowadays, few know how to write them. They are very difficult to compose as they do not lend themselves to complex sentence structure. The action has to move, but not too quickly. The movie version of Coraline is a masterpiece. The movie captures the spooky and fear inducing parts of family separation more so than the book. The book is still fantastic for the portrayal of Coraline’s interior life. ( )
  sacredheart25 | Mar 25, 2014 |
A charming book for kids probably anywhere from 8 - 14. It's twisted in the Roald Dahl type way where if you think about it... it's really a terrifying story, but it's written in such a way that is lighthearted and almost... detached enough that the horror stays mostly under the surface. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
Coraline moves to a home shared by three other tenants, but none of her neighbors are her age. She resorts to exploring her new home to ward off boredom, but what she finds is beyond anything she could have imagined. This book is a challenged book, though I believe the "creepy factor" of this book is lower than others I have read. The book ends on a high note, and would be perfect for those children who liked the film. It is also available as a graphic novel, which adds life and suspense to the story instead of detracting anything from it.
  Jen4k | Mar 12, 2014 |
Coraline would make a fun read aloud in a third through fifth grade class. I can just see the suspense every day! it would also work well for kids who love scary stories and who are mature enough at a younger age to read it.
  NancyDW | Mar 9, 2014 |
oh, who doesnt love Coraline? lol ( )
  shevener | Mar 5, 2014 |
3.5 stars. Coraline is exploring her new home, and discovers a locked door, behind which is a brick wall. However, she is soon able to unlock the door to a dark passageway. The passageway leads to a replica of her own home; not only that, she discovers her "other mother" and "other father" in this side of the passage. Unfortunately, her other mother wants to keep her - and she will stop at nothing to do so! Coraline must win a game to win her life, and the lives of others including her parents, back.

This was really good. I probably would have enjoyed it even more if I'd read it when I was younger. I will definitely be reading more of Gaiman's books in the future. ( )
  LibraryCin | Feb 18, 2014 |
One of the most bizarre books I have ever read. I read it and got a bit weirded out, frankly. However, I felt that it would make an awesome movie, and when the movie did come out, I loved it. In other words, I felt it was more of a visual story than a words story. You gotta see the needle and buttons. ( )
  bradgers | Feb 6, 2014 |
Coraline was a fun, quick read. My daughter and I both love the movie. However, the book and the movie are each totally separate animals. Both are great in their own ways. Neil is a truly gifted story-teller. His style of writing has that special quality that just seems to draw you in. I look forward to introducing my daughter to this little gem. ( )
  davepdavis | Feb 6, 2014 |
I generally adore Neil's books, but I didn't connect with this one. The Other Mother creeped me out a bit too much, I think. ( )
  shellwitte | Dec 11, 2013 |
My favourite Gaiman so far. I don't quite know what to say about this marvellous book without giving too much away - Coraline is a thoroughly modern heroine but the roots of the story are firmly in the past. She's strong and brave but still very much a naughty child who comes to discover a doorway into a parallel world where getting what she wants has unintended consequences and she has to fight to regain what she really loves. Marvellously eccentric support characters too... Loved it. ( )
  Figgles | Dec 1, 2013 |
Re-adding to my shelves (?!), as I read quite a while ago, so I don't remember much except that this is my least favorite from one of my favorite authors. ( )
  PortM | Nov 30, 2013 |
This is the kind of "kids" book I would let my nieces read for a good long time because it would probably creep them out.

What's annoying at least with this Kindle edition is the last 18% of the book is spam: reader's guide, author interview, excerpt, ads, etc. Plus 5% is the foreward, so really there's only 77% book in there. ( )
  ptdilloway | Nov 21, 2013 |
This story has more to it than meets the eye. It is layers upon layers of rich storytelling. Yes, it is a bit scary for young readers, but the overall message of love and family is timeless. Coraline is a strong, smart, and sophisticated heroine. Her relationship with her mother and father is believable as is her personality. The dialogue is well-written and the images jump off the pages. It is a great read and both children and adults will love it. ( )
  cjohnen01 | Nov 17, 2013 |
I discovered this online for free shortly before the movie came out, although that's not really relevant since I haven't seen it yet. It's a good book, good children's story. Like Alice in Wonderland if it was directed by Tobe Hooper. There's something about the "Person falls into Magic World" that's still appealing, and Gaiman's done it thrice now (Coraline for the kids, Mirrormask for the teens, and Neverwhere for the adults). He does a good job of starting out as mundane, moving to whimsical, then eerie, then oh-my-god-I'm-going-to-die-a-horrible-death-if-I-don't-return-to-mundanity. I recommend it. It's plenty short. ( )
  theWallflower | Oct 30, 2013 |
Coraline Jones and her parents have moved into the ground-floor flat of a house. It's summer, but it's raining, so everything is dull. Both parents work from home and don't have a lot of time to spend with Coraline. One day, she discovers a door in the drawing room that leads to an alternate version of her house, complete with Other Parents. It seems almost too good to be true…and it is. Coraline must avoid becoming trapped in the Other House and get back home.

I saw the movie of this before reading the book (shock! horror!) and could picture the characters from the movie in my head. The book has a good level of unease and mystery, and turns downright creepy toward the end (I was reading the bit about the hand in broad daylight and it made my skin crawl). Coraline is precisely the sort of resourceful protagonist that children like to read about, and adults reading along will find much to enjoy as well. I myself welled up a little bit at the part where Coraline recalls her father saving her from being stung by a bunch of angry wasps by taking the brunt of their attack himself.

Dave McKean's illustrations add much to the spooky atmosphere, and the book itself is a very quick read; I polished it off in a day. It's quick enough that you'll have plenty of time to read it again and again. Recommended! ( )
  rabbitprincess | Oct 19, 2013 |
This is the kind of book I would have loved reading when I was younger. Creepy YA fiction. I'm looking forward to watching the animated film of the same name. ( )
  diovival | Oct 14, 2013 |
Another great book from Neil Gaiman. His warped mind makes for great literature as we explore another world that has a girl doubting her boring, real life. Middle school students love this book! ( )
  Peaseblossom | Oct 13, 2013 |
Sweetly intriguing. I loved the journey and the characters! ( )
  LaPhenix | Oct 11, 2013 |
"There isn't anywhere but here. This is all she made: the house, the grounds, and the people in the house. She made it and she waited..."

This is the fourth book I've read for the run-up to Hallowe'en this year - and despite it being the only children's book on the list so far, it's also the one that's freaked me out the most. NO WORD OF A LIE. To put this in perspective, the previous three have involved a crossbow-wielding teenager (We Need to Talk About Kevin), a serial killer with a Mother complex (Psycho), and a town full of murderous geniuses with robot wives (The Stepford Wives)...

I think the key to this one's freak-out potential lies in Neil Gaiman's intuitive understanding of the fairytale tropes that have been chilling generations of children for years: the disruption of the safety of home, the fear of monsters, the thought of a nasty interloper taking the place of one of our beloved parents (see: every evil stepmother ever)... I don't think anyone ever really forgets those fears, ever really loses them completely, so they have as much power to get under our skin as adults as they did when we were tiny!

The book is about our little protagonist, the titular Coraline, and a trip through a doorway in her new house that winds up with her being trapped in a kind of warped mirror world. In this mirror world strange and mysterious things happen - cats can talk, and toys come alive, and whole tone is generally a bit Alice in Wonderland - and the household is presided over not by her true mother, but by the dark Other Mother, with her long red-nailed fingers and black button eyes. Coraline has to use every ounce of her ingenuity and courage, and her budding skills as an explorer, to outwit the Other Mother and restore herself and her true parents to their real home on the other side of the doorway.

I've haven't seen the film, but I can genuinely say that the Other Mother is one of the most terrifying characters I've ever come across. Having seen a picture of her FROM the movie, I may NEVER watch it, because I think if I saw the walking, talking version I'd have nightmares for months. The illustrations by Dave McKean in the book aren't much less creepy, to be honest, but at least they're not in glorious technicolour!

Bottom line? I'm sure kids would love the Roald-Dahl-crossed-with-Stephen-King tone and little gruesome moments, while adults can appreciate the smirk-inducing tongue-in-cheek humour and lovely writing. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more Gaiman - maybe one of his adult novels next, and hopefully something a little less likely to scar my inner six year-old for life! ( )
  elliepotten | Oct 11, 2013 |
I saw the movie first, let me be clear. So I was continually comparing the book to it.

On the whole, this was a creepy little story for children. I wonder if part of the creepiness is because as an adult, I find anything that a child has to deal with as creepy.

I also wonder if I would read this to my [hypothetical] child.

this was a stripped down story, as opposed to the movie. I actually like the movie better :)
but it was a good introduction to Neil Gaiman [as opposed to [book:American Gods|4407]] ( )
  Bookstooge | Sep 26, 2013 |
So far, all of the audiobooks I've listened to that have been narrated by the authors have been excellent, and Coraline by Neil Gaiman was no exception. I liked the character and her adventures, her imagination and fear and bravery. My only qualm was the fuzzy implication that "it was all a dream" (when she wakes up in the chair with the cat after coming through the door) - I actually said out loud, "No, Neil! You're better than that!" But it was left open-ended and I prefer to believe her adventures were real (well, as real as fiction gets). I'd like to see the movie. ( )
  JennyArch | Sep 23, 2013 |
Wow, I think I can see the awesomeness that is Neil Gaiman. ( )
  J4N3 | Sep 23, 2013 |
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