A short Gaiman interlude

Posted On 14 August 2012

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Just finished reading Coraline by Neil Gaiman.  This is a lovely, short creepy story that tells the story of Coraline who having recently moved to a new house finds a strange door that leads nowhere.  Or does it?

This is another wonderfully creepy story brought to us again by NG.  Coraline, in exploring her new house comes across a secret passageway that once travelled along seems to bring her out into the same house she’s just come from.  An alternative/parallel habitat where the occupants are in fact her ‘other’ mother and father.

This is a great read.  Very quick and quirky and as usual awash with imagination.  The cat character is just excellent and made me laugh with it’s arrogance and superior attitude.  I also liked the upstairs and downstairs neighbours who added a sort of grand theatrical feel to everything.

The alternate house starts off almost looking too good to be true – and it is.  Just goes to show that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence.  Another mother who has all the time in the world to devote to Coraline, cooking her favourite meals, playing games, a lovely bedroom with a very strange toy box, but, things aren’t to be that simple.  The other mother has a fairly exacting price to pay for all this devotion.

I guess you can see a strange sort of resemblance to Alice in Wonderland here.   We certainly have a bunch of quirky characters and a strange setting where anything seems possible – even an ally that turns out to be a talking cat but Gaiman always has his own strange take on everything and manages to inject a certain feeling of foreboding in the early chapters that gradually increases to a quite creepy and tense finale.

Now, all that being said, I do have a few minor criticisms – although probably more to do with me than the book.  Firstly, I think I ruined this book for myself by watching the film first.  I just couldn’t help but picture the characters when reading – I don’t suppose that’s necessarily a bad thing but I think I would have liked to have used my own imagination a bit more.  Secondly, the film Coraline is such a visual treat with a riot of colour that reading the book afterwards almost pales a little by comparison – which is weird really because, apart from a few diversions, the film pretty much sticks to the book.  Lastly, I think this book does come across more for a younger audience than say The Graveyard Book, although it’s simplicity does lend it a very quick read – one sitting, literally.

On the whole a weird and wonderful little indulgence and a great read to pick up in between your more chunky, time consuming novels.




15 Responses to “A short Gaiman interlude”

  1. Michael

    Have you tried the audio version of the book. It’s read by Gaiman.

    • lynnsbooks

      OMG – it would be worth buying that one then! Read by Gaiman – I do love that man!
      Lynn 😀

  2. Tanya

    It makes me happy when you read Gaiman. 😀
    I agree with you completely. This is a wonderful book, but I wouldn’t rave about it as much as his other ones because a) you’re right. It’s written for a much, much younger audience and b) the film was a tiny bit better, wasn’t it? I feel terrible saying that, but it’s true.
    Still such a good book. 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      It makes me happy also when I read Gaiman 😀
      The film really was a bit better. The ending was so creepy!!
      I want to read the Sandman – I checked out my library and they have 8 out of the 10 volumes so sounds like a good starting place.
      Can’t wait to take a look, absolutely everyone raves about them.
      Lynn 😀

      • Tanya

        Finally! I hope you love them as much as I do. 🙂

  3. TBM

    Quick and quirky — I like that combo. I wonder if my library has a copy. I loved his writing in Neverwhere. And I may take Michael’s advice and try to track down the audio version by Gaiman. That would be a fun way to spend a couple of rainy evenings.

    • lynnsbooks

      Ha, ha, I just replied to your wrong comment (doh). I liked this – it was a great little in-between book. Quite young but I still enjoyed Gaiman’s imagination. Going to try The Sandman next I think.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Grace

    I haven’t read the book to this one yet, but my boyfriend and I watched the movie together and both of us loved it. It manages to be creepy and full of wonder at the same time.

    • lynnsbooks

      The book really is a bit younger than I’m used to, BUT, I love Gaiman’s imagination. I think this is one book where you probably should read the film afterwards because once you’ve seen the film, which is just a riot of colour and such brilliant artistry – well, say no more.
      Lynn 😀

  5. nrlymrtl

    I have also seen the movie and have been debating reading the book. I think I will give it a little more time, so the movie fades in my memory a bit before I enjoy the book.

    • lynnsbooks

      I loved the film – in this case probably a smidgen more than the book – which is almost a thing unheard of for me!

  6. Rose's Thingamajig

    It might actually be a compliment to Gaiman that his work lends itself so well to the film medium. I think I prefer the film Stardust to the novel, and though I haven’t read Coraline, I adored the film. His work just translates perfectly to the big screen… Maybe it’s due to his descriptions being so vivid or his characters so realistic but honestly I can’t think of another author whose big-screen adaptations have been so well-received.

    • lynnsbooks

      Definitely. I haven’t read Stardust yet but I will certainly do so. I think Coraline the movie is an absolute visual delight. It’s just a gorgeous film The book is good also but for me it definitely felt a little bit young. I can understand why Gaiman writes for a younger audience because it also allows him to use his imagination so vividly. I loved The Graveyard book – I really can’t understand why this hasn’t been made into some sort of movie along the lines of Nightmare Before Christmas – it would be amazing.
      Lynn 😀

  7. Redhead

    I read the book just once, right before the movie came out, and now that I’ve seen the movie a handful of times my brain is having trouble remembering what scenes are only in the book, and what scenes are only in the movie. I think similar effect to what you had – everytime i think of the characters, I see the character from the movie, not whatever my brain came up with when I was reading the book.

    Have you read Stardust? another Gaiman where I think the movie is better than the book!

    • lynnsbooks

      No, not read Stardust yet but I will do eventually. This is why I have my little rule about reading the book before I see the film (which clearly doesn’t work because rules are made to be broken). It’s so difficult to not picture everything that you’ve seen otherwise. It surprised me that the movie had different elements to it. I mean a lot of it was the same – but I seem to recall there was a little boy in the film who made friends with Coraline (which defo wasn’t in the book). and I think she found like a knitted doll with button eyes and that also didn’t appear – not to mention the whole thing with the ‘other father’ – he had a bit of a creepy cellar scene in the book that wasn’t in the film (or was it – oops, getting everything jumbled up now!). Gaiman has written such a lot – it’s actually quite a pleasure trying to catch up with it all. I’ve literally just read two stories from one of The Sandman (which I am reading all out of order unfortunately – hopefully it doesn’t matter?). Calliope and Dream of a Thousand Cats – about to read Midsummer Nights Dream. Where does he come up with all these ideas – hopefully not a muse locked in a room on his top floor (queue evil laughter!) It feels as though he’s retained the strange imagination you have when you’re a child – when you think there’s a monster under your bed and you have to run and dive into the covers before it catches your legs! Who can remember all that?
      Lynn 😀

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