Written & Read by Neil Gaiman
Published by Harper Audio
Coraline Jones is a very bored little girl who just so happens to be an explorer. Now that her family has moved to a new flat, she has explored just about everything that she possibly can. She's met the neighbors (two retired actresses and the man upstairs who claims to be training a mouse circus), found both the delapidated tennis courts and the abandoned well, and counted all the doors in the flat. Thirteen of them are what you would call functional. The fourteenth opens onto a brick wall, a defunct passage from when the flats were once a single house. One day, with her parents away, she tries this door again--and finds a corridor. This corridor leads to a flat remarkably like her own, wherein live her other parents. They've been waiting for Coraline for a long, long time. And now that they have her, they don't ever want to let her go...
The story of how I came to anticipate the hell out of this novel has already been told in my Word Bomb on the topic. Also there you'll find my assertion that it's, in my mind, the best story to come out since Harry Potter that can entertain and delight both children and adults. So no need to reiterate myself wholly and completely.
What I will say is that, having the chance to listen to the book read and sparing my eyes from having to do the task (grubby little thieves, eyes--they always try and jump ahead, demanding to know what's next, what's next) there is something that jumps out at me: Gaiman's use of language. There are so many subtle little things conveyed through his word choice that it both impresses me as a reader and disgusts me with envy as a writer. Probably my absolute favorite is the idea that a corridor can smell both old and slow. Don't ask me why I find that idea so devilishly pleasing--I couldn't tell you.
I've always been a huge proponent of authors reading their own work, and this audiobook is a shining example of why. As a reader, Gaiman does not disappoint. He throws himself into different characters' voices with gleeful abandon, able to deliver the heavily accented "crazy old man upstairs" and yet also the frightened voices of shades of children, found by Coraline in her other flat. Some readers read a book as though they're, well, reading. But Gaiman is truly performing the work, which is very nice. And the weight that he gives certain passages are sure to thrill younger listeners as well as adults, who know for a fact exactly how deep the young girl has gotten herself in.
Honestly, the only thing that would be better than this presentation of Gaiman reading this book is for your children to hear you read to them yourself. It's an excellent interpretation of an excellent novel and is thus highly recommended.
Review submitted by Widgett
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