The Graveyard Book

by

The Graveyard Book (Audio) Cover

Author:  Neil Gaiman (narrated by the author)

TitleThe Graveyard Book (unabridged audio)

Genre:  Fantasy, Mystery, Horror, YA fiction

Publication Date:  2003

Length: 7 CDs; 7.75 hours

Geographical Setting:  Great Britain

Time Period:  present day

Plot Summary:

On a dark, quiet evening a cold and efficient killer wielding a razor sharp knife- a man called ‘Jack’- is making quick work of his assignment: to murder a family of four in a small British town. All is going according to plan until Jack finds that the youngest, an 18 month-old boy, has left his crib and toddled off, out into the night. Following his keen sense of smell, Jack stalks up the hill and into the graveyard, looking for the child that got away. But Mr. and Mrs. Owens, deceased couple and graveyard residents, find the boy first. Sensing the distress of the boy’s recently dead mother, the Owenses hide and protect him, and the man called Jack leaves to look elsewhere.  With the narrow escape, a prophesy unfolds.

The ghost couple adopts the child and Silas, a mysterious character neither ghost or human, agrees to be his guardian. They name him “Nobody Owens,” or Bod for short. Bod is given “the freedom of the graveyard” and grows up walking a line between the worlds of the living and the dead. He befriends ghosts, witches, and werewolves, and learns the skills of haunting. For the most part Bod is safe in the graveyard, but he can’t avoid the outside world forever. The man named Jack is still looking for him, and will not rest until his mission is complete.

Neil Gaiman’s narration delights, frightens, and engrosses, making the listener laugh while at the same time expressing the danger lurking. He effortlessly embodies characters of varying ages and historical periods, from ancient vengeful spirits and ghouls, to a sleek white haired businessman and teenager with a Scottish brogue. Each disk ends with a cliffhanger, leaving the reader clamoring for the next chapter.

Subject Headings:  Boy orphans, Supernatural, Cemeteries, Orphan Boys, Ghosts, Werewolves, Dead, Occult fiction, Fantasy fiction

Appeal: creepy setting, haunting, witty, dark, quirky characters, multi-generational, humorous, magical, adventurous, foreboding, heroic, coming-of-age, climactic ending

3 terms that best describes this book: humorous, creepy, coming-of-age adventure

Similar Authors and Works:

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Odd occurrences, violent storms, plagues of insects, and finally five swift deaths strike the Williams family upon moving into a quiet Texas subdivision, which, they soon discover, is situated on a graveyard.

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Necropolis: London and its Dead by Catharine Arnold

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Similarities: graveyards, culture of death, Danse Macabre, British atmosphere and culture

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Similarities: boy orphan protagonist, coming of age, storytelling, adventure

Fiction

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Name: Amy

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