Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.
"A graveyard is not normally a democracy, and yet death is the great democracy, and each of the dead had a voice and an opinion as to whether the living child should be allowed to stay, and they were each determined to be heard that night."
Life and death collide in a story of startling vision and originality in The Graveyard Book. The novel’s premise instantly fires the minds of readers, feeling at once timeless and yet thoroughly contemporary in its themes and execution. Bod Owens – short for ‘Nobody’ – is the sole survivor from a brutal murder, one written with expert, lithe craftsmanship so as to avoid any trace of gratuitousness whilst retaining a nail-bitingly excruciating level of tension, drama and pace. Bod is allowed the freedom of the graveyard and is brought up under the care of the late Mr and Mrs Owens.
Drawing upon Kipling’s The Jungle Book, the novel is told across eight short stories, all featuring Bod, and various deceased denizens of the graveyard. One particularly poignant strand is the friendship Bod shares with Scarlett Perkins and the gradual shifts that occur in this as the pair grow in body and mind. One of the great skills of the novel is the way it balances invention with profound comment around the nature of childhood, education and maturation. It admirably shows the value of life through world-building around the deceased and through exploring traditions and routines of the dead.