Coraline: ddttrh.info: Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean: Books
To mark the re-release of his breakout novel American Gods, bestselling author Neil Gaiman discusses his career with Time magazine's book reviewer. Buy Coraline New edition by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (ISBN: "If any writer can get the guys to read about the girls, it should be Neil Gaiman. .. the woods - and she has met the neighbours below and above her - the Miss Spink and Miss . Meet Neil Gaiman, the award-winning author of the innovative Sandman comics and fantastical Want to read more? Subscribe now and get.
The connections to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre are also powerful, though far less noted by critics. Jane is the first exceptional girl heroine of Victorian fiction; she is approximately Coraline's age when her story begins; she lives for most of the novel in a house with a terrifying parallel world in the attic; she is as intrepid as Coraline, and as alone much of the time.
Gaiman knows what readers like, and have liked for centuries: In Coraline, he has his finger on the pulse of what you loved when you were little, what mattered to you. Gently, he warps it, and makes you afraid as you would have been then -- and perhaps even more so, now. Gaiman began writing the novel when his daughter Holly was five, because she liked scary stories, and he picked it up again six years later to finish it for her little sister Maddy.
As he said in a interview, "[Holly] used to come home from kindergarten, climb onto my lap and dictate these sort of terrifying horror stories about little girls whose mothers were impersonated by evil witches and would imprison them and then the little girls would have to get free and rescue their mothers. I looked at the word Coraline, and knew it was someone's name.
I wanted to know what happened to her. The Jones family -- Coraline, her mother, and her father -- have recently moved into a "very old house" at the end of a rainy, cool, misty Sussex summer. The "names like" is a hallmark of this book: As the cat says, in its perfectly superior cattitude, "you people have names.
That's because you don't know who you are. We know who we are, so we don't need names. As the house has an attic, a cellar, a huge overgrown garden, an abandoned well, and secret locked door, she is in just the right place. When she's left alone, Coraline heads into the "ghost-world" behind that locked door, armed only with a hol e y stone, the gift of the old ladies downstairs, for protection. When Coraline opens that door, a dark hallway does the opposite of beckons.
It's a mirror image of her own home -- but turned wrong, somehow inside out, and outside in. The face of the boy in the drawing-room painting now looks calculating and nasty, his eyes peculiar.
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Those peculiar eyes get us ready, though not entirely prepared, for the bright dark button eyes of the other mother and other father she encounters. Everyone's rag doll, once upon a time, had buttons for eyes. This should be a comforting and familiar thing, but, for modern children, it isn't.
Gaiman does this so well, and nowhere better than in Coraline: The white paper-skinned woman, tall and thin, with her long fingers, dark curved red nails, and those shiny black button eyes that terrify, is less like Coraline's real mother than like a paper cutout come to life.
Other mother knows what Coraline wants, though. In this kitchen Coraline is immediately served a lovely home-cooked lunch of the sort her own mother never prepares, and that her father, with his yuppie recipes, fails to get right.
Every child has an other mother, perhaps, in mind during her or his life -- a mother who wouldn't feed you fish fingers, or tell you to go bother the neighbors instead of her, but fills you with roast chicken, spares you the washing up, and encourages you to play with rats. From Persephone's pomegranate to Alice's mushroom to Goblin Market to Edmund's Turkish Delight in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, there's always a penalty to be paid when anyone in a tale or myth eats food served by a suspect character.
Coraline's made of stronger stuff, though. She doesn't eat out of greed, or curiosity, but out of hunger. Perhaps this is why she's not tainted, or transformed, by the food. Coraline's other bedroom is entirely magical, a vivid, preppy pink and green -- not a place to sleep, perhaps because one is already in a dream? The books have living pictures, there are chattering tiny dinosaur skulls, and an adorable tank with a conscience and sense of embarrassment.
The black rats sing her dream-song from home that she can't remember, until the other old man comes for them, "something hungry" in his eyes. The appetites in through-the-doorland are weird and immense. Everyone wants to consume Coraline, in one way or another. The cat who can talk in this parallel world, and reminds me a lot of the dandy cat with his pistol and penchant for pyromania in Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita understands: When other mother and other father ask her to join them as their real daughter, by having large black button eyes sewn into her own with a long silver needle, Coraline takes its first truly macabre turn.
As other mother reaches for her, Coraline's fingers close "around the stone with the hole in it. Her other mother's hand scuttled off Coraline's shoulder like a frightened spider. This scene was surely the beginning of why.
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Trapped in the other world, the key taken by a rat, her real parents now confined in a snow-globe on the mantel, with three little spirit-children for company but whose savior she must also beCoraline steadfastly refuses to be overwhelmed.
We root for her, hard. Short stories frightened me, I think because so much happened before or after the story, and there was so much to know. Q What are you reading right now? I forget who wrote it, though. I could stop off in Ursula K. Q How do you feel about seeing film or stage adaptations of your stories? I pretty much always enjoy them.
Q Which character from your books is your favorite? Q Why do you look different all the time? In every picture of yours you look like a different person. It spooks me too. Q How do you pronounce your last name?
- Coraline , by Neil Gaiman: The First Decade
- MEET NEIL GAIMAN
Is it gay-man or guy-man or something else? Q What is your sign? I was born on November the tenth,which makes me a Scorpio Rat. Q Do you have a fan club? How can we join? Q Are you Lemony Snicket? Nope, closer, so only you can hear…. Like The Honorable, or Mister President.
Q What was your favorite place to explore as a child? As a child I liked to explore the gardens and grounds of old, empty houses in the town I lived in. Now I like exploring stories best. Q Why do you and Clive Barker and my dad look similar and not appear to age? I could tell you.
But then Clive Barker and your dad would have to kill me. Q Are you friends with Clive Barker? How did you meet him?
Clive and I have been friends for about eighteen years now. Gaiman, How do you know Lemony Snicket because he is one of my favorite authors? Q If you could be any of the characters in your books, which would you most like to be?
Which one has been most like you? Well, there are a lot of them who are pretty much me — lots of narrators of short stories, are as me as you can get.
Q If you had the opportunity to turn into a piece of fruit, what kind would it be? A pomegranite, I expect. Q I was wondering if at any time do you think you could come to Peoria, Illinois for a book signing? I hope you say yes. When it comes to signings, I go where the publisher sends me.
I got stuck for months in the middle.