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Coraline

An Adventure Too Weird for Words
Narrated by: Dawn French
Length: 3 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (624 ratings)

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Summary

Coraline has been made into an animated feature film directed by Henry Selick, director of Tim Burton�s The Nightmare Before Christmas, with a cast including Teri Hatcher, Ian McShane, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Dakota Fanning.

Shortly after moving into an old house Coraline discovers a big, carved, brown wooden door at the far corner of the drawing room. And it is locked. Curiosity runs riot in Coraline's mind and she unlocks the door to see what lies behind it. Disappointingly, it opens onto a brick wall. Days later, after exploring the rest of the house and garden, Coraline returns to the same mysterious door and opens it again. This time, however, there is a dark hallway in front of her. Stepping inside, the place beyond has an eerie familiarity about it. The carpet and wallpaper are the same as in her flat. The picture hanging on the wall is the same. Almost. Strangest of all, her mum and dad are there too. Only they have buttons for eyes and seem more possessive than normal. It's a twisted version of her world that is familiar, and yet sinister. And matters get even more surreal for Coraline when her "other" parents seem reluctant to let her leave.

©2002 Neil Gaiman (P)2002 Bloomsbury

Critic reviews

"I think this book will nudge Alice In Wonderland out of its niche at last. It is the most splendidly original, weird, and frightening book I have read, and yet full of things children will love." (Diana Wynne Jones)
"This book will send a shiver down your spine, out through your shoes and into a taxi to the airport. It has the delicate horror of the finest fairy tales, and it is a masterpiece. And you will never think about buttons in quite the same way again." (Terry Pratchett)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Like a Stephen King novel for kids...

What a gem! This imaginative and frightening story keeps you on your toes till the end. Coraline is an extraordinary girl who fights back against the scary things, while the cat provides twists of the kind only Neil Gaiman could come up with. This book is wonderfully original.

Having read most of Neil Gaiman's books I can't say it's my favourite, however I cannot imagine anyone being left with a hint of disappointment. It's scary, dark, charming and enjoyable.

Dawn French narrates well as the main character is female, it is great to listen to this book being read by a woman in a gentle way, as it feels that the story is so strong, it does not need a further dramatisation.

Thank you Neil Gaiman for sharing your imagination. It is truly beautiful!

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Great story, OK reading

Wonderful, macabre stroytelling - Gaiman at his almost best (The Graveyard Book is better). If you like Dawn French, no problem: I've always found her irritating and this didn't change that. I can't fault the storytelling though - Neil Gaiman makes the Brothers Grimm look like writers of -- well -- fairytales. Pitch black and wonderful.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Dark & Delightful

This book is like an onion. With layers & stuff. Highly enjoyable on so many levels. I love Coraline Jones. So i do.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant

Great story and brilliantly narrated. Very easy to listen to and enthralling. I'll be buying more of Neil Gaiman stories.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

To be honest I struggled with this

Normally I'm a fan of Neil Gaiman but I found this hard going, Dawn French was good, but perhaps at middle age I'm too old for this particular story.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Quite dark.

I loved French's dramatisation, very well done. I was impressed by the fullness of the story and the courage Coreline showed.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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AMAZING

I wish I had known this tale in my childhood. A bit, okay, a lot scary, but it helps you not to be afraid of the scary elements rather than make you scared.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic book! Made shower time so much easier

Listened to this while washing My 10 year olds hair..(just checking it really)
We both got so engrossed.. that we paused for her to get out and dry in privacy.. then resumed once it was her bed time... it turned out I was tired after all. Lying on the bed listening to this... next thing Husband woke me up.. to get ready to go to bed! So I just resumed from where I “think” I fell asleep!

Fantastic storytelling at its best x

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good enough just expected better

This was all just fine; an enjoyable 3 1/2 hours. But after the Graveyard Book and American Gods, I just expected more and it felt like a lengthy chapter from one of those brilliantly realised worlds. Buy Graveyard instead - it's unbelievably good!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

a joy

Where does Coraline rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

a short but entertaining listen. just right for a car journey one of my top 10

What did you like best about this story?

I do enjoy Neil Gaimen stories and this is no exception, a creepy tale, make sure you appreciate your parents!

What about Dawn French’s performance did you like?

The voice really complements the book, just the right amount of menace in it, very easy to listen to

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did want to but had to return to finish it the next day

Any additional comments?

a modern classic that I could listen to several times without losing interest

1 person found this helpful

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  • Siri
  • 17-07-13

Ah hahaha

What a lovely story this is, I see that this could have bin one of my favourite story when I was a child. But I was 26 when I heard it the first time. But it is a good story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tim
  • 03-02-20

Great book read by a great narrator!

I love this story, I bought it because I love the movie so much. I don't regret buying this for even a second. The narrator brings so much life to the story, it's a treat to listen to this.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-08-19

Incredible narration

Those who have heard the author's narration of his own story are easily forgiven for believing that to be, literally, the best possible version. I believed that myself - until I heard Dawn French tell this story.

It is, quite simply, a masterclass in narration, one of the best examples of the art I have ever heard.

Strongly, highly, thoroughly encouraged.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mariana
  • 15-07-19

Such an entertaining and beautiful story

I loved the story and even more the performance. The incredible performance gave life to the complex and interesting characters. Perfect!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-12-17

A creepy and funny read

My kids and I adore this book! It speaks to kids and keeps adults entertained, with a perfect blend of creepy story and humour.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • ATE
  • 16-08-16

Perhaps I'm biased

I feel like I probably would have enjoyed it more had I read this when I was younger. I kept expecting it to be scary but it never got that far for me and I have to say that disappointed me a bit. Coraline is a good character however, and despite her constant repetitions that she is an explorers, she manages to not get tedious in the way other child protagonists do.

As for the storyteller, I'm pretty certain that the way this story was meant to be read was somewhat blandly in the beginning to underline Coraline's boredom and partial isolation. Seeing as Neil Gaiman is bad at dynamic storytelling and the storyteller became quite lively with all her voices and enjoyment of the text later on. However, I was very much regretting my purchase up until the first meeting with Coraline's Other Mother.

I quite enjoyed the audiobook regardless.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Henriette
  • 22-06-12

Eerie

A disconcerting book for an adult to read. An excellent book for a child who is contemplating the consequences of its wishes and actions.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Maria Helena
  • 09-11-10

Excellent!

I watched the movie, and loved it. Then, I thought the audio would be nice, too. But, in fact, I think I'm in love with the whole story, in any possible way, since I'm listening all over and over again. The narrator is excellent, so I recommend it a lot, even to adults (I'm 30).