The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Published: June 18th, 2013
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Source: Christmas Gift
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.
This review is going to be short and sweet. Mostly because it was a short book, but also because I feel that it is one of those books that you need to go into a bit blind. This was my first Neil Gaiman novel to read and I can tell you I was not disappointed. This book is magical and mysterious and very, very bizarre. It was sad and spooky and basically just made you feel a lot of things. It had me thinking about what it’s like to be a child and what it is like to be an adult.
“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
If, as a child, you ever felt lonely or scared, lost or hopeless, confused or foolish, this book is for you. So, basically everyone. This book is for everyone. Anyone who has experienced childhood can take something from this book. That’s why it is so hard to explain why it’s a good read or what it’s about.
“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”
The characters are relatable. The magic feels real. This is most definitely a book I can see myself coming back to in the future. I have already recommended it to a few people and I will definitely continue to do so. This was my first read for 2015 and it definitely set the bar high. I’m interested in picking up many more of Neil Gaiman’s books… but first, project TBR.
Any recommendations for Neil Gaiman’s other novels? Has anyone read this one? What did you think?