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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Neil Gaiman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,1621077183 (4.19)1 / 1229
Title:The Graveyard Book
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Info:HarperCollins (2009), Kindle Edition, 321 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2008)

Recently added byprivate library, honeybear101, sofialucorrado, severino398, rena75, ToriCuller, julblosser, Fiddleback_
Legacy LibrariesTim Spalding
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    A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle (lorax)
    lorax: Beagle's work is not YA, but it is a classic, beautifully written love story involving ghosts and a man living in a cemetary.
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  8. 81
    Un Lun Dun by China Miéville (heidialice)
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    heidialice: Similar in setting, and both ghost stories, these are very different books, but fans of one should be interested in the other.
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(see all 34 recommendations)

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English (1,059)  German (4)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (2)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Hungarian (1)  Romanian (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (1,078)
Showing 1-5 of 1059 (next | show all)
Even if you own and have read this novel for yourself you should look up the audio-book and listen to it read by the author who reads beautifully. ( )
  ritaer | Dec 9, 2018 |
Neil Gaiman’s made a living by playing with our notions of how things work.

In American Gods, he asked what would happen if the people of Earth created gods by believing in them… and then forgot them. In Neverwhere, he toyed with the idea of London Below, a subterranean community beneath the oblivious London Above. And in The Graveyard Book (the third novel of Gaiman’s I’ve read), he dabbles in another hidden world: the afterlife.

The notion this time is that when you die, you live on as a ghost in the graveyard where you’re buried. People from different eras thus haunt the same patch of land for eons. And in the case of a particular cemetery in contemporary England, that means Celts mingle with Romans, Victorians, and the odd vampire.

Into this ghoulish mix stumbles a toddler, a boy whose parents and sister have just been murdered. The ghosts of the graveyard decide to adopt and protect the child, and he grows up there with the name Bod (short for Nobody) Owens. He doesn’t get much of a traditional education, but his spectral benefactors teach him the tricks of the dead: passing through walls, fading into darkness, etc. But Bod can’t stray far from the graveyard, because the man who killed his family wants to finish the job by killing him too.

As usual, Gaiman tells his tale with whimsy and heart. And since The Graveyard Book is written for children, the story is extra charming—who doesn’t want to root for an orphan with fun powers? I found the first few chapters a little slow, though. Young Bod isn’t capable of addressing the central problem (how to avenge his family), so Gaiman takes him on a series of seemingly unrelated adventures in the graveyard. This issue of agency persists when teenage Bod is finally ready to take on his pursuer; by confining Bod to the graveyard, Gaiman prevents his protagonist from taking the fight to the assassin. Instead, it’s the assassin who finds a way to get to Bod.

But I liked the story overall. Those early adventures plant the seeds for the story’s resolution, and as Gaiman notes in his afterword, the ending serves as an allegory for how parents eventually have to let their children go (or, for young readers, how they eventually have to step out on their own). In other words, The Graveyard Book is a touching example of how fiction can help us navigate reality. I hope my daughter reads it one day.

When she’s old enough.

(For more reviews like this one, see www.nickwisseman.com)
  nickwisseman | Dec 5, 2018 |
This book opens with a triple murder. A husband and wife who leave a child behind. It takes you through the life of that boy who ends up living in an grave yard that is filled with ghosts. This boy gets sort of adopted by a pair of ghosts and they name him Nobody Owens, who they call Bod for short. Bod goes through several events and gets taught by his ghost family and learns many things about life. ( )
  enemory | Nov 26, 2018 |
At the beginning of the book, the reader is immediately thrown into a mystery - a strange man has come to a house and has killed mother, father and daughter, however, the infant son escapes just walking out the door with no one noticing. Where does this child go? He wanders up the street and enters a graveyard where the ghosts of long dead people take him and protect him from the murderer.

The child, named Nobody by the spirits in the graveyard, called Bod, is safe as long as he remains in the graveyard. Many of the spirits take to his education as he grows up not just teaching him to read and write but special abilities - fading, dreamwalking. Bod makes a friend for a short time with a little girl named Scarlett, who later moves away. He actually attends school for awhile but instead of staying in the shadows, he bring himself to the attention of others which puts his life at risk. As he grows he knows he needs to find out who he is and what happened to his family.

My book club chose this "spooky" book for our October read and we were pleased with the story and how it evolved. It was fun and quirky but showed different sides of humanity. ( )
  cyderry | Nov 1, 2018 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was fantastic. ( )
  Max_Tardiff | Oct 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 1059 (next | show all)
Gaiman writes with charm and humor, and again he has a real winner.
added by lampbane | editVOYA, Rayna Patton (Jul 24, 2009)
Like a bite of dark Halloween chocolate, this novel proves rich, bittersweet and very satisfying.
This is fine work, from beginning to end, and the best bedtime story read-aloud material I've encountered in a long time. Can't wait until my daughter's old enough to read this to.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Oct 10, 2008)
When the chilling moments do come, they are as genuinely frightening as only Gaiman can make them, and redeem any shortcomings.
While “The Graveyard Book” will entertain people of all ages, it’s especially a tale for children. Gaiman’s remarkable cemetery is a place that children more than anyone would want to visit. They would certainly want to look for Silas in his chapel, maybe climb down (if they were as brave as Bod) to the oldest burial chamber, or (if they were as reckless) search for the ghoul gate. Children will appreciate Bod’s occasional mistakes and bad manners, and relish his good acts and eventual great ones. The story’s language and humor are sophisticated, but Gaiman respects his readers and trusts them to understand.

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neil Gaimanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Iacobaci, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKean, DaveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parpola, InkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Plouhinec, Valérie LeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riddell, ChrisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Rattle his bones
Over the stones
It's only a pauper
Who nobody owns

-- Traditional Nursery Rhyme
First words
There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.
Fortinbras Bartleby, ten years old when he had died (of consumption, he had told Bod, who had mistakenly believed for several years that Fortinbras had been eaten by lions or bears, and was extremely disappointed to learn it was merely a disease), now apologized to Bod.
“You’re always you, and that doesn’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Nehemiah Trot said, “Ah, list to me, young Leander, young Hero, young Alexander. If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”
“And for that reason, if for no other, it is vital that the child be raised with as little disruption as possible to the, if you’ll forgive the expression, the life of the graveyard.”
"It's like the people who believe they'll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn't work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you." p. 104
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the original prose book. Please don't combine it with any other format (Graphic novel, movie, etc).
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Nobody Owens lost his "really" family when he was infant and became adopted by a ghost family in his local cemetery. Aside from having ghosts for parents and guardians he also persued by the mysterious man who killed his family.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060530928, Hardcover)

In The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman has created a charming allegory of childhood. Although the book opens with a scary scene--a family is stabbed to death by "a man named Jack” --the story quickly moves into more child-friendly storytelling. The sole survivor of the attack--an 18-month-old baby--escapes his crib and his house, and toddles to a nearby graveyard. Quickly recognizing that the baby is orphaned, the graveyard's ghostly residents adopt him, name him Nobody ("Bod"), and allow him to live in their tomb. Taking inspiration from Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Gaiman describes how the toddler navigates among the headstones, asking a lot of questions and picking up the tricks of the living and the dead. In serial-like episodes, the story follows Bod's progress as he grows from baby to teen, learning life’s lessons amid a cadre of the long-dead, ghouls, witches, intermittent human interlopers. A pallid, nocturnal guardian named Silas ensures that Bod receives food, books, and anything else he might need from the human world. Whenever the boy strays from his usual play among the headstones, he finds new dangers, learns his limitations and strengths, and acquires the skills he needs to survive within the confines of the graveyard and in wider world beyond. (ages 10 and up) -–Heidi Broadhead

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:56 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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