I understand that this is Neil Gaiman’s retelling of The Jungle Book. If so, he may have surpassed Kipling’s work in sheer poetic beauty. The setting transforms from the jungles of India to a graveyard in England. Shere Kahn, the tiger, becomes the Man Jack not just a hungry murderer, but a representative of the forces of evil in the world.
Mowgli is Nobody Owens, a toddler rescued from Jack’s blade by the inhabitants of an old abandoned graveyard. He can see the dead and almost become one of them just as Mowgli almost becomes a denizen of the wild but eventually has to go back to the world of humanity. Of course, that’s only after a hair-raising climax that, in this case, is pure Gaiman and pure spectacular creative genius.
You do yourself a disservice if you don’t listen to the audiobook of this work read by Gaiman with a tenderness that is comforting and yet an urgency that is still able to chill you. Remember, this is the guy who wrote American Gods and The Sandman.
Five stars for a magical masterpiece that I will definitely replay for my family again and again.