No profound insights into Neil Gaiman's novel for children, but a few pointers. I never fail to be amazed at the cleanness and beauty of the prose. There are points throughout the novel that hint at deeper riches. Don, who initially recommended the piece with some reservations, had noted the use of Bible verses in the mouth of a very unsavory character and wondered what Gaiman might be saying. The wonderful thing about this, is that it little matters what his intent, again, as Don points out, it may leave a funny aftertaste in adult mouths, but the story is ultimately about good and evil. The use of the Bible verse very readily explained by the fact that not everyone who quotes scripture is worthy to do so. (A digression: how many of us are?)

The story and prose are simply enough--probably easy enough for a homeschooled child of seven or eight, or a public-schooled child of ten to read. The novel provides plenty of goosebumps with very little in the way of anything objectionable. I don't know that I would share this with youngsters, but I do recommend it to the attention of adults both because it is short and because the control in the writing is absolutely perfect. The pitch and the ear for dialogue and description superb. Quiet, menacing, and thrilling without ever going over the top. In some ways this small book reminded me of the splendid movie The Others. The chill is similar, the end result quite different. And, as usual with Gaiman, there are moments that are quite amusing even amid the creepiness. As we approach October, but this on your fall reading list.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 2, 2003 7:36 AM.

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