I grew up with a copy of this audiobook on cassette and it is a story that I have returned to time and again. Pratchett's Discworld novels are excellently written narratives for anyone who enjoys satirical fantasy, and the stories are always blended with a fascinating commentary on a few non-fictional themes. In this book Pratchett presents an interesting take on the issues of fame, hollywood, cinema advertising, and the disconnection from reality that people can experience when watching movies.
The storyline is enthralling, greatly assisted by Nigel Planer's narration. Planer has a wonderfully amiable style when it comes to voicing characters; each denizen of this book is amazingly well articulated. So much so in fact that many listeners may find themselves empathising with them like old friends before the end. Perhaps as a result of this, Planer also brings out the humour in the book very effectively. Even if you don't quite laugh out loud, you'll likely find yourself grinning at Pratchett's well crafted satire.
I highly recommend any of Pratchett's audiobooks, especially those voiced by Planer. Moving Pictures is a shining example of the perfect escapism you can find when the work of a brilliant author is brought to life by a master narrator. I'm sure I'll be coming back to listen to this one again.
The Graveyard Book (Audiobook) tells the story of a small boy who is spirited away by a handful of graveyard-inhabiting ghosts on the night of his family's murder, and his ensuing experiences growing up in these unorthodox circumstances.
Like many of Gaiman's works (Stardust & American Gods to name a couple) the narrative comprises a wonderful blend of real world relationships and fantastical themes. Many of the interactions between the boy and the other denizens of the novel (living or dead) effectively illustrate connections that any child will make growing up. The boy's posthumous guardians act and feel like true family members for him, rather than the cliched collection of evil ravening ghouls that we might have come to expect from a children's novel set in a Graveyard (although I should mention that the book does have ravening ghouls in it too!).Your typical Goosebumps (TM) novel this isn't, folks.
The audio is wonderfully performed/voiced by Gaiman, who has proven in this & other recitations that he is not simply a great writer, but a decent reader too. I particularly enjoyed the rough voices of the afore-mentioned ghouls, who sound to me like they just stepped off the docks of an old town somewhere in England.. although probably a very genteel town, the book being fairly suitable for younger listeners, despite the grim opening scenes.
If I have any nit-picking to do about this book it would be that there is always a certain vagueness about the fantastical elements within Gaiman's stories. This is of course to be expected to some extent, as the fantastical will, and probably should always be at least slightly inexplicable, but I found myself on several occasions hungering for more information on the why or how of things. Why are the ghosts waiting around in the graveyard? How is it that they are so different from the ghouls? Many questions like these are never explicitly answered within the book, but I expect the book would probably be twice as long if it did enter into these details.
For those of you looking for the short version of this review: The Graveyard Book is a well-told story of some of the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that any kid might experience growing up, effectively wrapped in an enthralling package of fantastical adventures that will keep any listener's ears following it through to the finish, almost regardless of the age of said ears. Highly recommended.
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