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~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Coraline by Neil Gaiman 
2nd-Apr-2006 10:44 pm
Golden
A recent purchase while in Orlando, Florida.

Gaiman, Neil. Coraline. 2002. New York: Harper Trophy, 2003.
Summary: Coraline steps through a door in her house that leads nowhere and enters a mirror world ruled by her "other mother," who has imprisoned other children in the past and Coraline's parents. With the help of a cat, Coraline frees them all, escapes, and insures that the beldam will never harm anyone ever again.
Comments: A finely-crafted, gorgeously atmospheric English children's story that reads like a darker C. S. Lewis. Even though modern era appliances like microwaves make their appearance, take away the Christian symbolism and add in a hearty dose of fantastic horror, and you've got Coraline. It all comes together beautifully, and there are no extraneous details with which to confuse a child. The black button eyes were an especially brilliant touch. Coraline's "trial" comes in three--there is the two old ladies, the eccentric upstairs, and the empty flat next door, and then there are three three children she must rescue. After that, come the big challenges--rescuing her parents, escaping, and defeating the beldam for good. Naturally, this is the kind of story parents will want for their child, showing Coraline growing up by learning to value and fight for what she has. Deserves to be on every child's literature list, even if (okay, okay, Jane Yolen, I agree) the Dave McKean illustrations don't add all that much.
Notes: children's paperback
Rating: 9/10 - Fulfills its ambitions admirably. I would've adored it as a little kid (in spite of weeks worth of nightmares), and it resonates even now for me as an adult.
Comments 
3rd-Apr-2006 03:10 am (UTC)
It sounds like it has cliches, but not in a bad way. Reminds me a bit of Mirrormask, which isn't shocking since Neil Gaiman wrote that as well. I definately think I'll pick this book up.
3rd-Apr-2006 01:02 pm (UTC)
It sounds like it has cliches, but not in a bad way.

Well, it's working off of a typical line of children's story--girl goes to other world because she's pissy, discovers that it's better at home, saves home in other world. But it's done VERY well.
3rd-Apr-2006 04:46 am (UTC)
I went off Gaiman after the very disappointing American Gods and the absolutely abysmal Smoke and Mirrors.
3rd-Apr-2006 01:03 pm (UTC)
American Gods and Neverwhere are probably among my favorite of Gaiman's adult works. I didn't especially like the most recent Anansi Boys, and Sandman always struck me as experimentation in progress.
3rd-Apr-2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
I wasn't overly impressed by Neverwhere either. To me Gaiman's a bit of a show pony - no real substance. His urban fantasy is like Tim Powers Lite. Compared to something like Last Call I don't think Gaiman's work rates at all.
5th-Apr-2006 01:54 pm (UTC)
Personally, I think Gaiman gets overambitious. Most of his work involve him biting off more than he can really chew and then trying to make it work. (Anansi Boys was PAINFUL that way...starting with all of the authors he credited as inspiration.) I liked Coraline because it was suitably small, using tried and true techniques with just enough originality embroidering the edges to make it appealing to an adult.

I did like Gaiman's philosophy on the US in American Gods, though. Interesting stuff; I've never seen anyone else say similar things.
5th-Apr-2006 02:00 pm (UTC)
I found his idea that America was not a congenial place for gods an odd thing to say about the most religion-obsessed nation on earth.
5th-Apr-2006 02:04 pm (UTC)
No way is the US the most religion-obsessed nation on Earth; fundamentalists are a minority who get a lot of media attention. In fact, Gaiman could argue that this latest Jesus revival is just another fever that will abate...and the overarching argument, that Americans have a hard time believing in ANYTHING over the long-term, that the country is characterized by a fundamental spiritual poverty, strikes me as very interesting take on US history.
5th-Apr-2006 02:13 pm (UTC)
But hasn't the Jesus fever been raging in the US since the Pilgrims arrived in 16-whatever it was?

It strikes me as a country that believes in way too many things, way too many dangerous abstract concepts like patriotism. A country that is desperate to believe in anything and everything. You have what almost amounts to a religious cult about your flag.
5th-Apr-2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
But hasn't the Jesus fever been raging in the US since the Pilgrims arrived in 16-whatever it was?

You're more steeped in American mythology than the average American! *laughs* The first English settlement to the US was Jamestown, not Plymouth Rock, and that was all about money, money, money. In fact, the Pilgrims separatists and the later Puritans were accompanied by fortune-seekers who outnumbered them...and they themselves had trouble holding on to the minds and hearts of their children.

You have what almost amounts to a religious cult about your flag.

*snorts* According to whom? Some French guy? Don't believe everything you read.

The process of "forgetting" that Gaiman describes in American Gods speaks profoundly to the immigrant experience in particular--which isn't surprising, given that he himself is an immigrant to the US.
5th-Apr-2006 02:26 pm (UTC)
The first English settlement to the US was Jamestown

Yes, I know.

not Plymouth Rock, and that was all about money, money, money.

Money and Jesus. The twin religions. Things haven't changed. ;-)
5th-Apr-2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
The most secular area of the country today is where the Puritans had their heyday in colonial times. ^^; There may be something to that. (Massachusetts is going to be implementing universal healthcare!)

Money and Jesus. The twin religions. Things haven't changed. ;-)

Or God, Gold, and Glory, as they say--the order depending upon who you are. :P
5th-Apr-2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
Or God, Gold, and Glory,

The three great evils.
28th-Apr-2006 11:08 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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