The Graveyard Book



First time i read the book, it was a few months ago and I haven’t finished it. And a week ago i got the latest paperback edition with extra. (I love book with extra contents ) One of the extra was Neil Gaiman’s Newberry Medal acceptance speech. Finally I finished reread the whole story of ‘the graveyard book’.

The story is about a child named Bod. He raised by inhabitants of a graveyard after his family killed by someone, in his house across the graveyard.

Gaiman got the idea of this book twenty-something years ago. When his 2 years old son Michael, (now 26), pedaling his tricycle through a graveyard. Neil himself was twenty five. He tried writing it, and realized it was better the idea than he was a writer. So he kept writing, but he wrote other things, learning his craft. Until the next twenty years, he thought he could write the graveyard book.

He planned to write a book composed of short stories, like his favorite book by Rudyard Kipling-The Jungle Book. This explanation made me realize why first time I read, I could easily put this book down after I finished chapter. (I don’t know if I ever really finished reading book of short stories, i usually start reading from anywhere interesting.)

So he started writing this book in December 2005, all through 2006, 2007 until one night in february 2008 he wrote the last two pages. One poem he write that night, which is my favorite, was

Face your life
It’s pain. It’s pleasure.
Leave no path untaken.

After writing this, his eyes stung. It was then, he can see clearly what he was writing. He wrote about childhood. Well it was Bod’s childhood, and he were raised in a graveyard, but it was childhood like any other. Neil explained, “I was now writing about being parent, and the fundamental most comical tragedy of parenthood: that if you do your job properly, if you as parents raised your children well, they won’t need you anymore. They go away, they have lives, they have families, they have future.”

Those poem, was the last line of the song, that Mrs.Owen (ghost mother) sung when Bod about to leave the Graveyard.

And there was the mist on my eyes comes, while I read the last two pages.
It’s because I sit on the same boat with Neil, as a parent, I can feel that. (Although my child still very young, but I know someday he will go). –so if you’re not yet being a parent probably you wouldn’t feel the same way as I did-

I love Neil’s novel (I have only read five, and craving for more..) because it’s not just another fantasy book; fighting with weird creatures or somebody with magical ability. He has written very humanistic characters, he put heart on them. (At least on: Coraline, Anansi Boys, Stardust, The Graveyard book and Good Omens-he write with his friend Terry Pratchet).

On Anansi boys for example he wrote about a man who want to invite his embarrassing father to his wedding, then realized his father was death and soon he found out his father is God of spider. On Coraline he wrote about lonely girl with busy mother and father, trapped on another world behind a door on her house. And on that world there was another mother and another father, whose very caring and want coraline to be their child.

Plot twist, new world, and heart, were kind of things that I always love in a book. Neil just mixed all those things really well and The Graveyard Book has top Coraline from my favorite book list. It’s his masterpiece.

Sometimes I’m being asked about my favorite writer, I said I have none. I read a lot of book, many of them are my favorite, I like many writers, but I have no favorite writer, at least until now. I have to say I’m craving for Neil Gaiman book now. (So please if anyone wants to give me present, just give me Neil Gaiman book. Hardcopy or audio book will do  or ticket to his reading session? Okay perhaps thats too much!  )

As Gaiman said, there were no bad stories. There were only books: the one he loved, the one that spoke to his soul, and the ones he merely liked. Well this book was the one that spoke to my soul. Thank you Mr.Gaiman for writing such a wonderful book!

(Bahasa Indonesia)

The Graveyard book: Kisah fantasi dengan hati

Buku ini bercerita tentang kehidupan Bod, seorang anak yatim yang di asuh oleh para penghuni pekuburan; para hantu.

Menurut Neil Gaiman, ide untuk buku ini muncul ketika Michael anak lelaki Gaiman yang berusia dua tahun (sekarang 26) bermain sepeda roda tiga melintasi komplek pekuburan di kampung halaman Gaiman di Sussex, Inggris.

Pada saat itu Neil Gaiman baru berusia dua puluh lima tahun. Dia mencoba menuliskan cerita tetang anak kecil di kuburan. Namun gagal mengembangkannya lebih lanjut. Ia menyadari bahwa ide cerita ini lebih bagus daripada (kemampuan dirinya) sebagai seorang penulis.

Maka dia terus menulis. Beralih pada cerita lain. Sambil terus mempelajari keterampilan menulis.

Saya selalu mengagumi kesabaran Gaiman dalam mengembangkan sebuah cerita. Coraline buku Gaiman (favoritsaya) yang lain, ia tulis dalam rentang waktu sembilan tahun. Dan buku The Graveyard book ini, setelah terlantar selama 23 tahun akhirnya ia berhasil menuliskannya (hanya) dalam waktu dua tahun!

Dalam segi kecepatan cerita, The Graveyard Book agak berbeda dengan Coraline yang sangat intens membuat pembaca (agak) ketakutan.

Sejak awal Gaiman ingin komposisi buku ini terdiri dari kumpulan cerita pendek, seperti The Jungle book- Rudyard Kipling, buku favoritnya.

Karena formatnya yang demikianlah, pertama kali membaca buku ini saya selalu bisa berhenti setelah habis satu bab. ( yang sangat jarang saya alami saat membaca novel Gaiman. Dan saya hampir tidak pernah menghabiskan kumpulan cerpen, biasanya hanya membaca yang menarik secara melompat-lompat)

Neil mulai menulis buku ini bulan desember 2005, sepanjang 2006, 2007, dan dua halaman terakhir di bulan Februari tahun 2008. Pada malam terakhir itu, ia menulis baris terakhir puisi yang menjadi kalimat favorite saya dalam novel ini:

Hadapilah hidupmu
Semua perih, semua nikmat
Jangan berpaling dari satu pun

Okey maafkan terjemahan yang mungkin enggak tepat ini ^_^ Kalimat aslinya

Face your life
It’s pain. It’s pleasure.
Leave no path untaken.

Mata saya berkaca-kaca. (Astaga, sesuatu yang juga tidak pernah saya alami saat membaca novel Gaiman. Dan sangat sedikit novel yang bisa membuat saya demikian. Saat ini saya bahkan tidak bisa mengingat satupun novel lain selain novel ini ^_^ )

Kata-kata tadi ditulis sebagai bait terakhir dari sebuah lagu yang dinyanyikan oleh ibu angkat Bod, Ny. Owen-seorang hantu, saat Bod bersiap pamit untuk meninggalkan Graveyard, rumahnya.

Ternyata saya bukan orang pertama yang tersentuh dengan kalimat itu. Gaiman mengalaminya lebih dahulu (Ya iyalah kan yang nulisss)

Malam itu, Gaiman menatap sebaris kata yang baru ditulisnya, dan merasa tersengat. Ia bisa melihat jelas apa yang sebenarnya sedang ditulisnya (Setelah dua tahun bo!)

Ia sedang menulis tentang masa kecil.

Neil bilang dalam pidato penerimaan Newberry Medal-nya, “Sekarang saya menulis sebagai orang tua, dan tragedi komikal yang dialami oleh setiap orang tua adalah, jika kita sebagai orang tua membesarkan anak-anak kita dengan baik, mereka tidak akan membutuhkan kita lagi. Mereka akan pergi, memiliki kehidupan, memiliki keluarga, memiliki masa depan.”

Disitu saya tertawa dengan mata berkaca-kaca. Neil Gaiman benar. Dia telah melewati masa membesarkan anak hingga mereka menjadi dewasa dan meninggalkannya. (Micahel inspirasi buku ini telah berusia 26 tahun) Dan disitulah saya menemukan alasan kenapa saya bisa ikut-ikutan sedih. Saya sekarang telah mengalami menjadi orang tua.

Neil Gaiman bilang untuknya tidak ada cerita yang jelek. Yang ada adalah cerita yang ia cintai, cerita yang berbicara pada jiwanya, dan cerita yang lumayan.

Saya cuma mau bilang. “Neil, this story has spoken to my soul!”

Dan dengan alasan (yang sangat subjektif) itulah, saya menjadikan buku ini sebagai all time favorite saya ^_^

2 thoughts on “The Graveyard Book

  1. Very nice post, I’m dying to read The Graveyard Book! After reading this and seeing your picture, I decided to buy the paperback edition. Thank you! ^^”

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