Coraline

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Coraline
Coraline.jpg
Front cover by Paul A. Hotaling
AuthorNeil Gaiman
IllustratorDave McKean
Cover artistPaul A. Hotaling
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
GenreHorror
fantasy
PublisherBloomsbury (UK)
Harper Collins (US)
Publication date24 January 2002
Media typePrint, e-book, audiobook
Pages163
ISBN0-06-113937-8
OCLC Number71822484
LC ClassificationPZ7.G1273 Co 2002
 
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Coraline
Coraline.jpg
Front cover by Paul A. Hotaling
AuthorNeil Gaiman
IllustratorDave McKean
Cover artistPaul A. Hotaling
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
GenreHorror
fantasy
PublisherBloomsbury (UK)
Harper Collins (US)
Publication date24 January 2002
Media typePrint, e-book, audiobook
Pages163
ISBN0-06-113937-8
OCLC Number71822484
LC ClassificationPZ7.G1273 Co 2002

Coraline /ˈkɒrəln/[1] is a horror/fantasy novella by British author Neil Gaiman, published in 2002 by Bloomsbury and Harper Collins. It was awarded the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novella,[2] the 2003 Nebula Award for Best Novella,[3] and the 2002 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers.[4] It has been compared to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and has been adapted into a 2009 stop-motion film directed by Henry Selick.

Plot summary[edit]

Coraline Jones and her parents move into an old house that has been divided into flats. The other tenants include Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, two elderly women retired from the stage, and Mr. Bobinsky, who is training a mouse circus. The flat beside Coraline's remains empty.

During a rainy day she discovers a locked door in a downstairs room. She gets the key from her mother and opens the door to discover that it has been bricked up. As she goes to visit her neighbours, Mr. Bobinsky relates to her a message from his mice: Don't go through the door. At tea with Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, Miss Spink spies danger in Coraline’s future after reading her tea leaves, and gives her a lucky stone. The ladies explain that the stone will make the unseen seen.

Despite these warnings, Coraline decides to unlock the door when she is home by herself. This time, she finds the brick wall behind the door gone. In its place is a long passageway that leads to a flat identical to her own, inhabited by her Other Mother and Other Father. They look like her parents, except that in place of eyes, they have shiny black buttons. In this “Other World”, Coraline finds everything to be better than her reality: her Other Parents are attentive, her toy box is filled with animate toys that can move and fly, and the Other Miss Spink and Miss Forcible forever perform a cabaret show in their flat. She even finds that the feral Black Cat that wanders around the house in the real world can talk; however, she learns he is not of the Other World; he can travel from one world to the other, and has done so to warn Coraline of imminent danger, but Coraline pays him no heed. The Other Mother and other inhabitants of the Other World do not like the Black Cat.

The Other Mother offers Coraline the opportunity to stay in the Other World forever, and to do so, Coraline must allow buttons to be sewn into her eyes. Coraline is horrified and returns through the door to her home. Upon her return to her apartment, Coraline finds her real parents are missing. They do not return the next day, and the black cat wakes her and takes her to a mirror in her hallway, through which she can see her trapped parents. They signal to her by writing "Help Us" on the glass, from which Coraline deduces the Other Mother has kidnapped them. Though frightened of returning, Coraline goes back to the Other World to confront the Other Mother and rescue her parents. In the garden, Coraline is prompted by the Cat to challenge the Other Mother, as “her kind of thing loves games and challenges”. The Other Mother tries to convince Coraline to stay, but Coraline refuses, and is locked within a mirror as punishment.

Behind the mirror is darkness and a small space like a closet. There, she meets three ghost children, each from a different era. They had let the beldame (the Other Mother) sew buttons in their eyes. They tell Coraline how she eventually grew bored with them, and eventually they died and she cast their spirits aside. But they are trapped there because she has kept their souls. If their souls can be rescued from the Other Mother, then the ghosts can pass on. The ghost children implore Coraline to avoid their fate.

After the Other Mother releases Coraline from the mirror, Coraline proposes a game: if she can find the ghost children's souls and her parents, then she, her parents and the ghost children may go free. If she loses, then Coraline will let the Other Mother sew the buttons into her eyes and become a loving daughter to her.

Coraline searches through the Other World, overcomes all of the Other Mother's obstacles, uses her wits and Miss Spink's stone to locate the ghost children's souls and her parents, who are imprisoned in a snow globe on the mantle. The ghost children warn her that even if Coraline wins, the Other Mother will not let them go. So Coraline tricks the Other Mother: she announces that she knows her parents are hidden in the passageway between the worlds. The Other Mother cannot resist gloating by opening the door to show Coraline that her parents are not there. But as the Other Mother opens the door, Coraline throws the cat at the Other Mother, grabs the snow globe, and escapes to the real world with the key, and the Cat quickly follows. In escaping, she forces the door shut on the Other Mother's hand, severing it. Back in her home, Coraline finds her parents safe and with no memory of the events.

That night, Coraline has a dream in which she meets the three children before they move on to the afterlife. They warn her that her task is still not done: the other mother's severed hand is in Coraline's world, and will not stop until it locates and uses the key to open the door that connects the two worlds. Coraline goes to an old well in the woods by her house, luring the Other Mother’s hand there with the key, and tricks the Other Mother's hand into falling down a bottomless old well, along with the key. Coraline returns home, victorious, and prepares to go about the ordinary life she has come to accept and love.

Characters[edit]

Adaptations[edit]

Film[edit]

With the help of the animation studio Laika, director Henry Selick released a stop motion film adaptation in 2009, to generally positive reviews. At the 82nd Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best Animated Feature. In the film, Coraline is depicted as having short blue hair and freckles. Henry Selick added a new character, Wyborn "Wybie" Lovat, who is an annoyance at first to Coraline in the real world but she grows to like him. In the Other world he cannot speak, but is an ally to Coraline. At the end of the film, Coraline reaches out to help Wybie tell his grandmother what is behind the little door.

Graphic novel[edit]

A graphic novel adaptation, published in 2008, was illustrated by P. Craig Russell and lettered by Todd Klein.[5]

Musical[edit]

A theatrical adaptation, with music and lyrics by Stephin Merritt and book by David Greenspan, premiered on 6 May 2009, produced by MCC Theater and True Love Productions Off-Broadway at The Lucille Lortel Theatre.[6] The production used non-traditional casting; an adult, Jayne Houdyshell, played the title role of nine-year-old Coraline.[6]

Video game[edit]

A video game adaptation, based on the film, was published and developed by D3 Publisher of America. The game was released on 27 January 2009 for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS and Wii platforms and contains features such as playing as Coraline, interacting with other characters, and playing minigames. The game received mostly negative reviews.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The theatrical trailer for Coraline". Retrieved 8 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "The Hugo Awards : 2003 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. Retrieved 25 October 2009. 
  3. ^ "The Nebula Awards". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2009. 
  4. ^ "Past Stoker Nominees & Winners". Horror Writers Association. Retrieved 25 October 2009. 
  5. ^ Smith, Zack (19 August 2008). "P. Craig Russell – Adapting Coraline and More". Newsarama. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Blankenship, Mark (7 June 2009). "The Score and the Story, Inseparable". New York Times. pp. AR4. 

External links[edit]