The story of a boy who grows up in a graveyard and learns the many tricks of the trade of being a ghost. We start off with our hero as a baby, his parents murdered and a madman hot on his trail. The child ends up in the graveyard and falls under the care of a rather tall man who has the power to cloud men’s minds. We also met a Russian woman who possesses some interesting powers of her own. Oh, and the whole graveyard is filled with ghosts, who all end up influencing our young hero one way or another.
Neil Gaiman is a great writer and I have yet to read anything of his that I haven’t liked. This is a typical bit of Gaiman’s work, a normal person finds themselves in a world that isn’t all that normal. Of course, here our hero has never known any other world, and yet it still feels like he is the normal one. He is alive while everyone else is either dead or undead or cursed in some way. He is told to never leave the cemetery, and of course, he does leave in the fullness of time.
Years go by and our hero, young Nobody Owens, becomes curious about things like why he is in the graveyard and what it’s like to be a human in the outside world and what it’s like to be a human in the underworld. Like most speculative fiction, there is a lot of suspension of disbelief needed here. We never get any answers about the evil League of Jacks or the vampire who takes Bod under his wing or what eventually happens to our hero once he is exiled from the graveyard. The hope of his future love life is dashed, his graveyard powers seem to be gone, and yet he still wanders off into the ‘real’ world with a smile on his lips and song in his heart. I still liked it.
Neil Gaiman does a brilliant job of reading The Graveyard Book and giving the many people we met a little bit of a twist. It’s well worth reading.