Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors. And around 2002, I was lucky enough to meet him. I was editing the newsletter for the British Fantasy Society at the time and the opportunity arose to interview him on his UK tour to promote Coraline. It was his first venture into children’s fiction, and I still have the signed hard copy of my bookshelf at home dedicated to my daughter who at that time was only 2.
Gaiman was already well established by this time and had done much to bring dark fantasy fiction to the masses through the Sandman graphic novel series, Neverwhere, and the New York Times bestseller American Gods.
Coraline in typical Gaiman style has a dark macabre streak running through it, no less diluted for being aimed at children. The story follows Coraline who stumbles into another world just like her own but slightly different. The black cat can speak, her parents aren’t too busy to spend time with her, and they look just like her parents except they have buttons for eyes.
This story is a perfect spooky read for older children but the ‘Other Mother’ works on a deeper level too – staying at the edge of your memory along with those other nightmares you’ve pushed aside.