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Coraline [Hardcover]

Neil Gaiman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Aug 2002
When Coraline moves with her parents to a new house she is fascinated by the fact that their 'house' is in fact only half a house! Divided into flats years before, there is a brick wall behind a door where once there was a corridor and one day it is corridor again, down which the intrepid Coraline wanders. And so a nightmare-ish mystery begins that takes Coraline into the arms of counterfeit parents and a life that isn't quite right. Can Coraline get out? Can she find her real parents? Will life ever be the same again? "I think this book will nudge "Alice In Wonderland" out of its niche at last. It is the most splendidly original, weird, and frightening book I have read, and yet full of things children will love." - Diana Wynne Jones. "This book will send a shiver down your spine, out through your shoes and into a taxi to the airport. It has the delicate horror of the finest fairy tales, and it is a masterpiece. And you will never think about buttons in quite the same way again." - Terry Pratchett.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (5 Aug 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747558531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747558538
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 621,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Despite being mostly known for his fantastical graphic novels and adult fiction, Neil Gaiman's first book for children is everything that you would expect from such a massive imagination as his. It's special and wonderful and very weird indeed. Described by some as the new Alice in Wonderland, Coraline is actually more bizarre than that, much more frightening and its modest length definitely adds to the book's undiluted potency.

Shortly after moving into an old house with strange tenants above and below, Coraline discovers a big, carved, brown wooden door at the far corner of the drawing room. And it is locked. Curiosity runs riot in Coraline's mind and she unlocks the door to see what lies behind it. Disappointingly, it opens onto a brick wall. Days later, after exploring the rest of the house and garden, Coraline returns to the same mysterious door and opens it again. This time, however, there is a dark hallway in front of her. Stepping inside, the place beyond has an eerie familiarity about it. The carpet and wallpaper are the same as in her flat. The picture hanging on the wall is the same. Almost. Strangest of all, her mum and dad are there too. Only they have buttons for eyes and seem more possessive than normal. It's a twisted version of her world that is familiar, and yet sinister. And matters get even more surreal for Coraline when her "other" parents seem reluctant to let her leave.

Her attempted escape from this nightmare alternative reality sees Coraline experience a chilling series of ever more bizarre encounters. Some are plainly odd, others disturbingly spooky and together they combine to form an immensely readable story. It's like all the best bits of the Goosebumps books condensed into 160 pages. A unique reading experience guaranteed. (Ages 10 and over)--John McLay

Review

"it blew my mind. ... I've since re-read the novel and it's even better than I remembered." -- The Times Educational Supplement, Adele Geras, August 2nd 2002

"it reads like Alice in Wonderland crossed with Stephen King." -- Independent on Sunday 30th June 2002

"this is a marvellously strange and scary book. ...Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, rise to your feet and applaud: 'Coraline' is the real thing." -- Philip Pullman, The Guardian, 31st August 2002

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing in the best possible way 27 Nov 2006
Format:Paperback
I discovered this book a little over four years ago. It was the first Gaimain novel I had come across, and remains--despite my delving into the fascinating depths of Neverwhere's London Below, the dangerous beauty of Stardust's Faerie and all the rest--my absolute favourite of all his works. His clear, unconvuluted style is really allowed to shine through here as this story is primarily for children, giving a wonderfully bleak, chilly feel. Also, Gaiman's masterful tendency of leaving much unexplained and not feeling the need to rationalise the extraordinary is, no doubt one that will appeal to children greatly.

Admittedly, the basic idea of a 'Looking-Glass' world is not original, but the intricacies of the storyline certainly are. This novel has that feel that so many horror films try (and largely fail) to obtain with their demonic children and evil dollies; Coraline is awash with a kind of twisted innocence that is infinitely eerie.

Black buttons have ever since made me edgy.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I was attracted by the amazing artwork on the cover of this book, but was totally unprepared for the surprise inside. It is a pleasure to read out loud and was chosen as a bedtime story for our 8 year old child. OOps - very scary indeed, talking animals, rats singing cautionary tales, haughty cats, an impossibly long key, souls of dead children, the truth seen through a stone with a hole in it...... a girl trapped in a parallel world unable to leave until she rescues her parents.... The Other Mother and Father with large black buttons sewn on their eyelids, waiting to stitch up Coralines eyes..... I'm such a fan, can't you tell. Anyway, some clever person has bought the film rights and I can't wait. There's also a great website.. mousecircus.com Look out for and click on the rats when they scurry over the page, they will sing their chilling song for you. Enjoy if you dare.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's done it again. 17 Oct 2002
Format:Hardcover
Neil Gaiman is a fantastic writer and this latest book conjured from his warped imgination proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The story is definetly written for children in mind but Gaiman manages to create an ambience so eerie and chilling that it will have any adult reading with the hairs on the back of their neck standing up.
You'll follow Coraline (Not Caroline!) into a world exactly like hers but counterfeit and with counterfeit parents. A world which wants to keep her there forever and always offering everything a child could wish for. But she's no fool and soon figures that there are things that are just too good to be true. Be it in this world or another.
The book is within the same genre as alice in wonderland but has many original ideas which will dare you to put the book down and not read it in one sitting. I was not up to this dare and finished it within one read. I am now currently reading it to my partner who is enjoying it almost as much as I did!
I'll be buying a copy for all the children and fantasy loving adults I know.
Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bland 20 Oct 2013
By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
To say anything bad about Neil Gaiman is to incur the wrath of the most committed of fans! I've read a few of his books but find them a bit hit-and-miss. Often, for me, the idea is much better than the actual execution; and Coraline is a case in point.

Not scary enough, not descriptive enough, it didn't tick any of my boxes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mouse Circus! 6 Oct 2013
By Lola TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I am falling more and more in love with Neil Gaiman's creations. Coraline. Such a quirky, fun, adventurous young girl with huge imagination who sees right from wrong in a weird world of old houses, brick walls behind the doors, empty snowglobes and buttons instead of eyes. Did I mention singing mice, bat-dogs and a talking cat?

And the hand in the end! You just have to read it to find out all the quirky stuff. And it will only take you half a day. This creepy, a bit frightening tale is an absolute pleasure to read. It is fast paced and very well written. I highly recommend to share "Coraline" with children - but beware, there might be a few sleepless nights in store for them. Compared to The Ocean at the End of the Lane (which I absolutely loved!), I think Coraline is much more suitable for younger readers (I found the slow-motion film was actually scarier than the book).

Enjoyed and recommended!

This paper copy of the book is to treasure - the illustrations are beautiful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unbutton your eyes 21 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback
My first thought about this book is that I almost wish it wasn't marketed as a children's book. It is very dark and grisly, and had I watched or read this when I was a young girl, I'm pretty sure I would have had nightmares.

A brief synopsis: Coraline Jones moved into part of an old, pink house. Her parents are busy and often neglect her, and she is discontent and lonely. The new house has very strange neighbors, such as a crazy man trying to train a mice circus, and two aging retired theatre actresses who own many Scottie dogs and dream about their lost youth. Coraline finds a small door in her flat that during the day opens up to a brick wall. Yet that night she opens it again and it leads to a parallel world, where she has an "other mother" and "other father" and everything seems to be a dream come true. Yet this world is a twisted, evil mirror world, and once she has fallen into it, she discovers it is very dangerous for her and for her parents.

I love the imagination of Neil Gaiman, even if he does follow the same format over and over--girl or boy stumbles into a hidden mirror world: London Below in Neverwhere, the world in Mirrormask, gods who are actually in the real world like in American Gods and Anansi Boys and The Sandman, the world of magic in The Books of Magic, and the almost separate world in the graveyard of The Graveyard Book. Yet this was a very tidy book--the motifs tie into each other well, no loose ends are left untied, and it definitely develops a sense of suspense in the reader. Gaiman is very good at creating an atmosphere and entertaining his readers.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
one off the best books I have ever read. 5*
very well written. I love this author
Published 9 days ago by Mell
4.0 out of 5 stars What It Means To Be Brave
Coraline is 10 and she's bored with exploring her new flat. She discovers a door that opens to a brick wall, which piques her interest. Read more
Published 19 days ago by J. Ang
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
Really good book and is worth reading- different from the movie though
And in some ways better than the movie
Published 21 days ago by this game is awsome!
5.0 out of 5 stars love it!
I'm a huge fan of Neil Gaiman, but I can't believe that I didn't read this book until after the film came out. Very well written, and a great story.
Published 1 month ago by Amy Winstanley
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Such an inventive cleverly written novel. There are no superfluous words every one is used, carefully, to paint a fantastic imaginary world.
Published 2 months ago by Mamamade
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I have watched the film, I am a big fan. I am very impressed with the book it has a lot more detail, then
The film, outstanding, great author recommend to anyone.
Published 2 months ago by izzyharding
5.0 out of 5 stars Read and Re-read -- this is a classic.
I first read this to the kids, then we got the movie. I recently downloaded it again. Just something to have on the kindle for long car journey's -- it's paid for itself already... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ger Hogan
4.0 out of 5 stars You'll never look at a button the same again!
I was given this by a friend and told it was worth a read. I must admit I’m not normally one for reading children/teen fiction but after having consumed Gaiman’s Neverwhere with a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jerico
2.0 out of 5 stars Fairly dull...
If you haven't watched the movie then do that instead. The movie is wonderful but the book is definitely not.
Published 3 months ago by Jondc
4.0 out of 5 stars Coraline
I started reading Coraline at school but we were only reading 2 chapters a week so I thought I would read it at home and I couldn't put the book down!
Published 3 months ago by penguin buddy
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