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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book (2008)

by Neil Gaiman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,2541080183 (4.19)1 / 1234
Recently added byprivate library, Agamid, BASALibrary, Jotamac, effietheant, helenaferry, stembrook, Jazzypaddington, ODULRC, rena75
Legacy LibrariesTim Spalding
  1. 333
    Coraline by Neil Gaiman (FFortuna, moonstormer)
  2. 243
    The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling (veracity)
  3. 161
    James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  4. 174
    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.
  5. 110
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (emperatrix)
  6. 113
    Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  7. 81
    The House With a Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs (timspalding)
  8. 81
    Un Lun Dun by China Miéville (heidialice)
    heidialice: Both are fantastical YA at its best. Gaiman is an acknowledged inspiration for Mieville, and it shows, though he has his own distinctive style and voice.
  9. 71
    The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman (moonstormer)
  10. 1510
    The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  11. 40
    The Thief of Always by Clive Barker (kawika)
  12. 51
    Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman (PghDragonMan)
  13. 62
    The Book of Lost Things: A Novel by John Connolly (jonathankws)
  14. 52
    From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury (Ape)
    Ape: Eerily similar stories...
  15. 96
    Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (heidialice)
    heidialice: Similar in setting, and both ghost stories, these are very different books, but fans of one should be interested in the other.
  16. 30
    The Palace of Laughter by Jon Berkeley (FFortuna)
  17. 30
    Abarat by Clive Barker (kawika)
  18. 20
    A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny (MyriadBooks)
  19. 31
    A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (kaledrina)
  20. 20
    Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham (keeneam)

(see all 34 recommendations)

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To Read (12)

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English (1,061)  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 (1,080)
Showing 1-5 of 1061 (next | show all)
Nobody Owens was a toddler when he was taken in by ghosts in a graveyard and his family had been killed by a man jack . The ghosts agree to give him the freedom of the graveyard, meaning that he can talk with the dead, move through walls and is invisible to most humans so long as he stays in the graveyard. Nobody gets into all sorts of mischief of which he cannot escape from..... ( )
  qsimon111 | Jan 14, 2019 |
The book is about a baby boy who climbs out of his home and into the graveyard. While he does so his family is murdered by a secret organization. The murderer needs to kill the boy to complete his task so as the boy grows, he searches for him. The graveyard residents take care of the boy and name him Nobody. (Bod for short.) And on his adventures he goes to the underworld, visits the sleer, goes to school where he fights off bullies, and renews a visit with a girl he met long ago. He deals with the man trying to kill him and a couple other men in the organization. But then he loses his touch with the graveyard, he loses his ghostly powers, and can no longer see the undead. This is where he became of age and had to leave the graveyard. ( )
  AlexanderL.B4 | Jan 3, 2019 |
Nobody Owens is raised in a cemetary after his family is murdered. He was supposed to die that night but wandered away before the murderer caught him. He is safe as long as he stays in the cemetary. He can see the spirits of the graveyard's inhabitants. He learns from them on the physical as well as spiritual side of life. He grows. He gets into trouble. He needs Silas and the rest of the spirits and guardians of the graveyard.

I enjoyed this book. It is my favorite Neil Gaiman book so far. I loved the characters and the story. It was fun and different from much of my reading. If I owned this book, it would be a keeper. ( )
  Sheila1957 | Dec 30, 2018 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 1061 (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.

» see all 13 descriptions

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