The 10th anniversary edition of The Graveyard Book has a foreword by Margaret Atwood. The foreword is delightful. And it’s short. In five pages, she succinctly meanders through all I want from a forward: literary context, Gaiman’s place in that context, excitement about the story, and even a personal anectode that involved Gaiman.

Let me try to give you a taste of the meandering yet to the point style of Atwood. Here’s where she makes a leap towards introducing the book:

Astrologically, Neil Gaiman is a Scorpio with Gemini rising, and, if you go in for that sort of thing - as he must, because I found his horoscope online - this explains much. Scorpio is governed by Pluto, patron of the Underworld as well as of plumbing, underwear, the criminal underworld, and everything below the line; and Gemini is ruled by Mercury or Hermes, god of thieves, jokes, communication, travel, and secrets; in addition to which he is the conductor of souls to the Underworld. Most travel to the land of the dead is one-way, but Hermes comes and goes as he pleases, and so do various protagonists in books by Neil Gaiman, including this one.

The following paragraph opens with “Most of us have a distinct aversion to being dead. We have great difficulty imagining ourselves as simply not existing anymore: […]”

Yet we have tried to imagine this throughout the history. Atwood then surveys a selection of ancient stories that attempt at an explanation and reminds: “But there are many other possibilities. […] It is this latter body of folklore that Neil Gaiman draws upon for The Graveyard Book.”