Book: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Horror for children

Neil Gaiman
HarperCollins, 2002
ISBN: 0-380-97778-8
194 pages (of rather loosely-set type)

Coraline is an adventurous girl, perhaps ten or twelve years old, who lives with her parents in an apartment that was created by dividing up a large house. As such apartments often do, theirs has a door that doesn't go anywhere; it just gives onto a brick wall. But one day, Coraline finds that the brick wall isn't there and she goes to explore.

It seems that Coraline is meant mostly or partly for children or young adults. Indeed, it has a good bit in common with Hiyao Miyazaki's excellent movie Spirited Away. Both involve a girl transported to a spirit world who needs all of her considerable courage to put things back the way they ought to be. The spirit world in Spirited Away has rather more benign influences in it than the one in Coraline.

I don't know how old someone needs to be before Coraline is likely to be appropriate for them. For myself, I found it pretty darned creepy, and I don't consider myself more than usually susceptible to such things. Part of the reason I found it that creepy is, no doubt, Mr Gaiman's customarily excellent writing. If you'd like to be drawn into a story, it would be hard to do much better than one of Mr Gaiman's. And if you'd like to be drawn into a beautifully-crafted and rather creepy one, it would be hard to do better than Coraline.

Posted: Sun - May 16, 2004 at 09:30   Main   Category: