Runner Up: Online Book Review Contest

Thursday, June 08, 2017 KELS 0 Comments Category :

The Graveyard Book by Anum Fatima 

Even as adults, we have that small child inside us who loves fantasy and imaginary worlds. Every once in a while, I relieve myself with a book that crosses the boundaries of realism and lets me step into a world very unlike my own. Neil Gaiman is surely one of those who would take you on a journey of another beautiful, hidden yet connected world.

Darkness turned into beauty:
Ever since childhood, we have a fear instilled for graveyards and a possibility of roaming ghosts in there. We find the world we live in safe and home-like. But this book goes the other way round. A child who comes to the graveyard as a toddler makes it home and his foster parents are ghosts of a couple, dead for centuries. (I am not mentioning his name deliberately, because I would like the reader to experience and love his naming session as I did). He is loved, taught and cared for in the graveyard. He learns his first words there and knows the ghosts as his own people. He has been taught to do things living people cannot do. The boy grows up in the graveyard and has more courage than most people, living and dead.
His experience spans over years. “In History he’ll throw in little made-up details, stuff not in the books” but that which he heard from people who were present at that time. His mannerisms were polite and he impressed the dead people from past many centuries as well as the living ones of the present “because he could greet people in over nine hundred years of changing manners.” And, naturally or unnaturally, death has become an ordinary phenomenon to him, as he says “It’s only death. I mean, all of my best friends are dead.”
He is well-loved in the graveyard, but the world outside it has dangers lying in ambush for him. Although he wants to go out in the world and experience all the world outside, he loves the graveyard and calls it home. He does step out eventually, though, and faces different kinds of people in the world of living people and learns to fight for himself. But can he fight everyone who means him harm? 

When Bod (the protagonist’s nickname) fell in an unmarked grave:
“….containing a rather excitable medical gentleman named Carstairs who seemed thrilled by Bod’s arrival and insisted on examining Bod’s wrist (which Bod had twisted in the tumble, grabbing on to a root) before he could be persuaded to go and fetch help.”

Perfect combination:
This story has all the elements to amuse and amaze. You will find emotions, fears, humor, suspense and mystery packed in all the pages. It is a wonderful collection of words to take you in a whirlwind of sentiments, where you witness a child growing up among elders who love him but are too protective about him.
It is a vivid piece and you can almost feel and see all that is going on. You can see a tomb and a headstone, the ivy growing all around the places, and hear the music at the “dance of Macabray.”

Would I recommend it?
That is not even a question. I definitely recommend it to anyone who has a shred of imagination and enjoys reading, exploring and versatility. If you appreciate a combination of suspense, humor and sentiments, this book is surely going to take a place of honour on your shelf.