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Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism: A Novella Hardcover – October 16, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312644744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312644741
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

One of the most powerful 'neverwheres' of the modern fantastic imagination. (The Wall Street Journal on Joe Golem and the Drowning City)

A story that grabs from the first page and doesn't let go. (Tad Williams on Joe Golem and the Drowning City)

Mignola's affectionate, Kirby-esque portraits compliment Golden's imaginative, YA-friendly prose. (Kirkus on Joe Golem and the Drowning City)

About the Author

MIKE MIGNOLA is best known as the award-winning creator/writer/artist of Hellboy. He was also visual consultant to director Guillermo del Toro on both Hellboy and Hellboy 2:The Golden Army films. He also co-authored (with Christopher Golden) 2 novels BALTIMORE, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire and Joe Golem and the Drowning City. Mignola lives in southern California with his wife, daughter, and cat.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
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3 star
8%
2 star
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See all 13 customer reviews
Often you can tell a much more powerful story in fewer pages.
Zack Davisson
The characterizations in the story were good and I had a sense of who the characters were and what they were like.
Patrick Walsh
Clocking in at 163 pages, one should be able to read it in one sitting.
Kayla's Reads and Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've been following Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden's collaborations since the wonderful Baltimore, Or, the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire. While each book they co-write is quality, they tighten and improve their collaboration with each new release. Fittingly, their most recent work, "Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism" is by far my favorite. A tight, brilliant little fairy tale, I could easily believe that this is some century-old legend instead of a modern story.

There is an inherent magic about puppets. The way they come to life in the right hands. They way they sit in their boxes after a show, looking still alive but waiting for a hand and voice to give them vitality. Stories about magical puppets always remind me of the Japanese folktales of tsukumogami, where if a thing is made with enough craft and care it takes on some of the life-force of its creator and becomes endowed with a soul. This same quality makes puppets are a natural vehicle for horror and weird fiction. After all, it's a brave person who could spend the night in a room full of puppets.

(I know from experience. I used to have a Jerry Mahoney ventriloquist doll that some cruel relative gave me as a present. That thing haunted my childhood, and I could only sleep if it was securely shut away in the closet, where monsters dwell.)

Mignola has played with the magic of puppets before in his Hellboy comic, and to good effect. In "Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism," he delves even deeper into the hidden world of wood and strings.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rob Slaven TOP 50 REVIEWER on October 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As always, this was a book that I received for free in the mail because I clicked a button. Presumably on GoodReads.

Mignola submits for your approval, a tale of a young boy... yeah, enough Serling. The back of the book touts this one as very Twilight Zone and it is fundamentally a blend of "The Dummy" and "The Invaders". There's not really much that's terribly original about this book but it is wonderfully executed. Set in war-torn Sicily during the second world war, the whole thing comes across as very real and very moving. This could be the seed of a much protracted full-length novel but in its current form it only really gives a hint of its own potential. The text makes for an entertaining three hours.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kat Hooper VINE VOICE on November 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Originally posted at FanLit.

There is just no way I can resist reading a novella called Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism, especially when it's written by the guy who created Hellboy. As I expected, I was rewarded with just over 4 hours of constant audio entertainment.

The young priest Father Gaetano has just been assigned to a church in Sicily that has taken in children who were orphaned during World War II. The nuns love the children and are doing the best they can, but they are happy to have Father Gaetano's help with the teaching. In the aftermath of war, most of the children have lost their families and they're dealing with the most difficult of all theological questions: How can God let bad things happen to good people? Father Gaetano admires the children for not being willing to settle for such platitudes as "God still loves you" or "it's all in God's plan" and he looks forward to teaching such inquisitive minds. But how can he teach these precious children the deep truths of God in a way they can understand?

When he finds a box of beautifully-crafted puppets and a puppet theater in the basement, Father Gaetano decides to use these tools to teach his lessons. He and one of the boys work hard to paint and dress the puppets for their roles. The puppets are a big hit with most of the kids, though there's one boy who is afraid of them. It turns out that he has a reason to be; the puppets come alive at night. They sneak into one of the boys' rooms and play out the roles that Father Gaetano gave them during the day. The priest and the nuns, of course, don't realize what's going on... Not until Father Gaetano, in his quest to make the children understand why bad things happen, decides to teach the children about the origin of sin.
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By Brian Woods on December 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow! What a great little story. I am a day or two late writing this review in time for this to be a Christmas gift, but for those with Amazon gift cards, I highly recommend it.

I've always been attracted to stories with a Miyazakian lack of antagonist. This story features only regular people trying to do the best they can in an area ravaged by war. The small things that bother me about stories today, like lingering on misunderstandings to drag out a plot, are not present in this story. I read it very quickly because I was enjoying being with all the characters and living in their world.

I suppose my only negative criticism would be a lack of understanding what part Mignola played in developing the story. Perhaps he had a great part in the plot, but the thumbnail images that occasionally decorate the pages add little to the story itself and sometimes I had no idea what they were illustrating in relation to the words on the page. Still, they are small and only exist as a bonus anyway.

I have purposefully left out a summation of the plot as I am sure the one that led me to buy the book is enough.

I hope you find this short critique helpful and enjoy the book as much as I did.
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Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism: A Novella
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