Monday, 18 August 2014

Coraline - Neil Gaiman

Title - Coraline
Author - Neil Gaiman


Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.


After reading Stardust, I decided that I wanted to read a lot more of Gaiman's work. Coraline seemed like natural choice since I was a big fan of Henry Selick's very Tim Burton styled animated adaptation.

As is the case for every book to film adaptation, there are some changed that are for the better and others that should have been left as the writer has imagined it. It is a brilliantly dark and twisted tale about a girl who feels abandoned by her very busy parents and a creature that introduces herself as the other mother and attempts to fill the void of a parental figure while she hatches her rather insidious plan. 

I'm not sure if this is intended for a younger audience since the monster that lurks in these pages could very easily scare adults. There are a lot of ambiguity about what kind of creature "the other mother" is and Gaiman makes no effort into reveling any answers.

From a purely narrative standpoint, Coraline is an amazing character. She is smart, brave and intuitive. Unlike the Coraline in the movie, she is not easily fooled by better food and playground. She is very suspicious of the other mother from the start and is resistant to the idea of this perfect world that she is presented with. It does however present the point that her narrative might be too smart for the age she is, not that I object to it.

On her part the other mother is much more complicated that she is seen in the movie, she doesn't just want Coraline just for the sake of it but wants to really love her in her own way, even if her form of love is very short lived and based solely on a narcissistic need to have something other than herself love her back.

The only thing that was disappointing about Coraline is the notable absence of Wyborne 'Wybie' Lovat, while his character is not essential, he was a really fun character to have. Like Stardust before it, Coraline does not make a habit of wrapping all the lose ends into a neat bow but leaves it to the reader to imagine some of the lose ends as a potential for the reader to explore by themselves.

This is amazingly creative, dark and just simply amazing. The creatures and characters in this book are not only well thought out but are incredibly detailed in their existence. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for superb story telling and brilliantly twisted imagination.

Product Detail
Paperback: 162 Pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Language: English
Author's Website:
Purchase: Amazon | Barns & Nobel 

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