Railways and Coraline

Laurel lalamme at gru.net
Thu Aug 1 23:53:16 EDT 2002

> I wrote:
> > Please forgive my late response to this post, but I don't believe
> > I've seen anyone else mention _Topsy-Turvy_, by, perhaps,
> > Anstey?  I recall two humorous railroad scenes.
> >
Sally Odgers wrote:
> Is that the same book as "Vice Versa"?

Probably, since I can't find my copy and have been known to
confuse titles terribly.  Thank you for the correction.

Ros wrote:
> There's a review of _Coraline_ by Neil Gaiman at:
> http://www.powells.com/review/2002_07_27
> Has anyone read it yet? 

I have, as I was lucky enough to receive a copy with an autograph
and a little rat drawn in, or possibly a mouse.  I liked it very
much, although it was a little younger than I was expecting,
having just read _American Gods_.  Also, I'm not really familiar
with the genre of children's horror, or dark fantasy anyway.  But
despite a few reservations, I found the plot quite engrossing,
the descriptions detailed and a bit frightening (no doubt more so
if I were younger) and the ending sweet.

Spoilers to follow:


I enjoyed the other world and the twisted way in which it almost
reflected the real one.  Actually, reflections were a theme
throughout - "Mirrors ... are never to be trusted" - and
everything in the other world was, in a way, a mirror.  Except
for Coraline and the cat - and I loved the way the cat became
helpful without losing its essential catness.  As for Coraline, I
enjoyed her straightforward take on life, but when her parents
were stolen and she was trapped in the other world, she was so
determined - perhaps stoic - that she almost seemed emotionless. 
But I hardly want to complain about such a capable and competent
female hero.  The ghost children were a nice touch and not
cliched, as they could have been, and Coraline's final trick with
the hand was very clever.

Reading _Coraline_, Raymond Feist's _Fairie Queen_ (hope I've got
that title correct!) came to mind, but I'm not sure if there was
similarity beyond certain obvious plot points.  ObDWJ: Coraline's
forthright nature reminded me a bit of Sophie in HMC, and her
other mother's faux-nice maneuverings made me think of Aunt Maria
in AM, except not as convincing.

I'd love to hear what others think of _Coraline_.

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