June 25, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

by Neil Gaiman

This huge fan is once again overwhelmed by the awesomeness displayed by Neil Gaiman in his latest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I have been eagerly anticipating the release of this work when I first heard about it last year, so much that I pre-ordered a Kindle copy via Amazon and devoured it as soon as it was released last June 18.

As usual, Neil Gaiman did not disappoint. Brilliant people just don't. 


"I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from
things or people or moments that hurt, but I found joy in the things
that made me happy.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a wonderfully haunting novel about love and friendship, sacrifices, and memories. The unnamed male narrator, on one of his rare trips to the place of his childhood, revisits the farm where three generations of Hempstock women – the youngest of whom was his friend, Lettie, who claimed that the duckpond behind their farmhouse was an ocean – had once lived. This visit takes him on a vivid trip down memory lane – specifically, a reminiscence of an event that involved his own family, the Hempstocks, and a horde of ancient creatures, inadvertently released, that nearly caused havoc in our narrator’s world.

As soon as I began reading, I couldn’t stop. It took all of my willpower (and the fact that I had an early start the following day) to put my e-reader away, and even then I had to pick a chapter that wasn’t particularly hanging, so that I could wait another day to go back to reading it. The novel was that absorbing, I would have finished it in one sitting if only I had enough time.

The prose was simple, the scenes flowed, the descriptions were graphic and striking when required, and the themes were relevant. Neil Gaiman writes awesome children's stories, and this one felt to me like a children's story for adults.

I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality I knew was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger. I saw the world from above and below. I saw that there were patterns and gates and paths beyond the real. I saw all these things and understood them and they filled me, just as the waters of the ocean filled me. 


Heck, can I just summarize and say that I love Neil Gaiman?

I am book-pushing - no, shoving - this work to absolutely everyone. If you haven't read a Gaiman and would love to try now, pick this one. You can thank me later.

Book Details: Pre-ordered Kindle edition from Amazon, released June 18, 2013
Rating ★★★

2 comments:

Peter S. said...

Woot woot! I will be reading this soon as well! I just need to get all the book club books out of the way first.

I love Gaiman. I haven't met a Gaiman that I didn't like. I really love American Gods. Chunky, big hearted, scary, satisfying.

Tin said...

Yay for Gaiman! There are still a whole bunch of his works that I haven't read and this one will surely be one of the front runners in that line-up.

I agree with Peter about American Gods. He described the book perfectly. Although I did have a hard time getting into it at first. But I love mythology and Gaiman writes beautifully. Anansi Boys is pretty fun too. And Stardust...and Graveyard Book...Hee...:)