There is a temptation to view Coraline as something of a dark and distorted version of Alice in Wonderland: there is the young female protagonist, a looking glass, an enigmatic cat, a prandial setting in which the absurd reigns… and yet, to insist on this analogy would diminish Gaiman’s work as merely derivative —- which it certainly is not, at least not in the pejorative sense. There are certainly multiple influences, literary in form and style that have come to bear in this young adult tale; but it would be more apropos to consider Coraline as the extension of literary tradition. e.g. that of the Knight’s Tale or even of the troubadour tradition.
Fairy tales are more than true; not because
they tell us that dragons exist, but because
they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
— G.K. Chesterton
Coraline is a fairy tale, a Knight’s Tale, a very dark tale that draws on some fine literary traditions; but presents the reader with novel and creative images that make it uniquely the work of Gaiman.
For parents: The imagery in Coraline is very dark and may not be appropriate for children who are prone to fearfulness or nightmares, especially of rats, actors and/or the door in your house that leads to the crawl space. Parents may also have to answer questions about parental love, neglect and abuse, smother love, abstract concepts of creativity and parallel universes.
I purchased Coraline, 10th Anniversary Edition (by Neil Gaiman; with illustrations by David McKean) from the Barnes & Noble in Medford, Oregon. I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing this product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.
This post is part of the Murder, Monsters, Mayhem feature being hosted by Jennifer L. at her blog, http://www.jennsbookshelves.com