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Coraline by Neil Gaiman
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Coraline (edition 2004)

by Neil Gaiman

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12,287463206 (3.99)626
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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This is a fairly macabre story, that I expect adults will find as intriguing as young readers. It has everything one might hope for: musical mice, a talking cat and a supernatural mystery with high stakes.

All in all, I liked it. I wish more information was given, but that is limitation of the genre rather than of the story itself. ( )
  raselyem7 | Aug 30, 2014 |
This was a weird little book. I can do weird, being a fantasy fan and all but this one is one that didn't make it in my awesome or wonderful weird. Perhaps it was too juvenile – meant for a much younger audience than me – for me to make it into either of those categories. It is a very quick read however and it’s a fantasy classic. I think they even made a movie based off it. It was one of those books that I’m glad I can check off the list and now know the story that is referenced in many contexts, but I doubt I will ever pick up again or reread. ( )
  Kassilem | Aug 27, 2014 |
An OK book. It wasn't anything too extraordinary. Just a quick, easy book that told, in a way, a modern and somewhat darker version of Alice in Wonderland. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
When Coraline Jones is home alone one day, she opens a mysterious door in the drawing room. Beyond, she finds a dark corridor that leads her to another house – just like hers, but better. There, she finds another mother and another father. They say they want to take care of her, to make her life interesting. There’s only one catch. They want Coraline to remain with them forever.
Soon, the other mother captures Coraline’s real parents, and she must find a way to free them if she’s ever to return to her ordinary life.

Pros:
Coraline is the type of book that’s perfect for a rainy day or when you want something subtly spooky. It reads like a modern fable, populated with archetypes that are somehow never flat. Coraline herself is such a refreshing heroine. She’s quiet – so a little ignored – clever, brave, and so intuitive. The other mother is an interesting, frightening antagonist whose obsession with keeping Coraline forever saturates the story with an understated but constant dread. Secondary characters like Miss Spink, Miss Forcible, Mr. Bobo, and the black cat – though somewhat one-note – are colorful, fun and witty respectively, and give the story a well-calibrated sense of whimsy.

The plot, which explores themes of self, bravery, and want versus need, is intriguing, multi-layered, and never condescending. It also contains aspects of ambiguity (the other mother’s origins, for example) that serve to heighten the book’s other elements. Gaiman’s writing is spartan and allows the story to speak for itself, bolstering each episode’s emotion impact.

Dave McKean’s shadowy illustrations increase the creepy-factor exponentially, assisting the reader in conjuring up even scarier mental images.

Cons:
Many portions of this book may actually be too frightening for the target audience.

Verdict:
Coraline merits instant classic status. Delightfully spooky and entrancing, it’s a contemporary fairytale with an abundance of heart.

Rating: (9.5/10) ( )
  readernoir | Jul 22, 2014 |
It was a quick read. I did see the movie before I read the book, but it was different. It was eerie, but still very well written. I'm a bit hesitant to read Neil Gaiman's adult novels, but only because I didn't find any synopsis i liked on books I've skimmed. Anyway, he's been well received by other people I've talked to. ( )
  aliterarylion | Jul 14, 2014 |
For those whimsical moments in life when I think things could not get more glum I turn to Coraline to realize YES they possibly could. ( )
  revslick | Jul 14, 2014 |
It may be an unfair standard, but I don't think this book added much to the movie. Had I read the book first the converse might have been true.

The book was enjoyable, but I was hoping for more, something like Philip Pullman's Clockwork or I Was a Rat. There was something more mature than those books, not just the terror but the more complex portrait of a child's imperfect relationship with her parents. But still, something about it did not work perfectly as a story for me. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
This book is scary beyond belief and I would definitely not recommend it to younger readers: I had to hide under the covers! I loved Lemony Snicket's advice on the back cover. He basically says, "put this book down and walk away right now!" If you like ghost stories and being pleasurably frightened, then this may be the book for you. If not, leave Coraline and her "other mother," on the shelf! ( )
  aconant | Jun 6, 2014 |
This modern fantasy chapter book has been one of my favorites since the first time I read it. The vivid detail and elaborate plot line throws the reader into a mysterious world of wonder and imagination. The underlying meaning of this story is to never be afraid to discover something new, but to be cautious at the same time. ( )
  arodri13 | May 7, 2014 |
When Coraline explores her new home, she steps through a door and into another house just like her own... except that it's different. It's a marvelous adventure until Coraline discovers that there's also another mother and another father in the house. They want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to keep her forever!

Coraline must use all of her wits and every ounce of courage in order to save herself and return home
  Megan88 | Apr 22, 2014 |
AUTHOR: Gaiman, Neil
TITLE: Coraline & Other Stories
DATE READ: 04/18/14
RATING: 3.5/C+
GENRE/PUB DATE/PUBLISHER/# OF PGS: Short Stories/2002/Bloomsbury Press/277 pgs

COMMENTS: Really not my cuppa and would not have read on my own. This was a "traveling book" so I read it before passing on. This book contains the novella Coraline -- creepy & not something I liked w/ ugly illustrations. Just not something I could glom onto. Oh well, minus me as a fan means nothing since I know Mr. Gaiman has quite a following. The rest of the book is short stories. The only one that stood out for me was the fun one about the hard boiled detective The Case of Four and Twenty Blackbirds. ( )
  pammykn | Apr 21, 2014 |
I never read this book as a child, but even as an adult I really liked it. I saw the movie a few years ago and the book is definitely better. It is a book about a young girl who opens a door to a different world, and has to try and escape it and save her parents. I would read and recommend this book to 1st and up. ( )
  aloupe | Apr 20, 2014 |
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. ( )
1 vote 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 |
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