The Ocean At The End of The Lane By Neil Gaiman
“A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman’s first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys. This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real…1”
Neil Gaiman is a well known author for his great works of fiction…. or at least I think he is. Only having read one other book of his I personally don’t have much to compare it with. His other book I read was Stardust, which I enjoyed very much, but more memorably because of the movie. With Gaiman’s works being called fairy tales for adults you would think I would have read all of his works.
The cover of the book is what really drew me in, not even noticing the authors name or connecting it with anything. I knew from the cover and title it would be something that would interest me, but I also feared it would stray from my usual interests in fiction. The story begins with an unnamed narrator going back to his childhood memories, physically and mentally, after attending a funeral. The story begins seemingly devoid of any fantasy or flare until the strange and exciting Lettie Hempstock and the other ladies of the Hempstock family are introduced. The Hempstocks introduce us to a world full of whimsy and magic, while settled in a very quiet old english countryside. There is something about the english countryside, despite never having been there, that holds its own kind of magic. They are almost at such extremes that it makes the magic seem more real and unquestionable. The Hempstock farm resides at the end of the lane from our narrator’s home. After a man who had been staying with the narrator’s family is found dead from suicide, Lettie Hempstock appears and takes the narrator back to her families farm. There he is introduced to the other Hempstock ladies, as well as a pond on their property which Lettie calls her “ocean”, hence the title. The man’s suicide opens a doorway to another world allowing a dark creature to enter. When the narrator joins Lettie on a mission to send the creature away, he accidentally brings the creature back with him setting off a chain of horrible events.
It really is the Hempstock ladies that make this story in addition to Gaiman’s writing. There is a point in a story where most authors seem to go into too much detail to explain certain points which draws us away from the story and the things we truly like about it. Thankfully this did not last for long and we were able to get back to the story.
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is a well written fun read with a nice touch of magic, but it didn’t blow me out of the water; or in this case the ocean… which is actually a pond. Still worth the read, but it is nothing I would rave about.
- Book summary courtesy of Neil Gaiman’s webpage.