THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE/Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Summary from Goodreads:

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

Just recently, I read Neil Gaiman’s short story collection, Fragile Things, and just like my Coraline experience, I was awed by Gaiman’s strangely eerie imagination. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is his latest novel, and once again, Neil Gaiman’s lovely storytelling did not disappoint. I guess it’s safe to say that I am slowly becoming a Gaiman fan (if I’m not already, haha!)

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is an enjoyable read but it is more than that. Once again, I was left dumbfounded by how Neil Gaiman tells a supposedly simple story about children and adults and friendship and growing up, but he has made it even more powerful with the eerily wonderful twists that only Neil himself can do. It is so easy to get into the story and into the character of the narrator, and towards the end, my imagination definitely had a good work-out. Mythical creatures and a pail of water that can become an ocean are just the things that kept me glued to the story.

The unnamed narrator describes himself as a child whose world revolves around books, and don’t I just love that? I have found a kindred spirit. Ursula Monkton scared me. And I’m much older than the main character. That is how powerful Neil Gaiman’s storytelling is. My most favorite character, however, will be Lettie. I may still have a lot questions as to her identity and her background, but I love how she fiercely protected her friendship with the main character.

I have highlighted many parts in the book because there are just quotes worthy of attention. Here are a couple of my favorites:

“Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of but they aren’t.”

“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. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is a book for kids, but it is for adults as well. There are lessons here that only a child and childhood can teach and isn’t it humbling for adults to learn from children?

It’s so easy to be spoilery about the story, but I am not going to do that. I’d rather talk about how Neil Gaiman has confounded me time and again with his stories. And this book is no exception. This is a beautiful story and I wouldn’t mind reading it again in the future.

I think I need no more convincing. I have fallen in love with Neil Gaiman. ♥

*****

4/5 stars.

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