by Neil Gaiman
Buy from Indigo
Description: 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
The Good Stuff
- Gaiman is a brilliant storyteller with a gift for a language that is unequal
- Neil's imagination and ability to create imaginary yet real worlds is also a gift
- Fast paced, dark, twisted, everything you expect and love from Gaiman
- The magic place of childhood before you grow up
- Not a word wasted. I wish I had the words to convey the brilliance of his writing. His words are almost poetic and so beautiful you can almost feel them wrap around you and drag you into his mind
- Sacrifice, leaving childhood behind, but longing for it
- Wanted to read this as soon as Gaiman discussed the inspiration behind the book. You can feel how personal this book is to him even if you don't know the background
- Friendship and sacrifice also another big theme of the story
- As in many other of his books Gaiman understands and conveys what childhood is, not the happy, sweet innocent time that parents want it to be, but more dark and uncertain (but still one of joy and wonder)
The Not so Good Stuff
- I was a wee bit confused at times (but lets face it that probably more to do with my lack of intellect than Gaiman's talent)
"As we age, we become our parents; live long enough and we see faces repeat in time."
"Adult stories never made sense, and they were slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, Masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood. Why didn't adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and smugglers and dangerous fairies?"
"I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. 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 custard was sweet and creamy in my mouth, the dark swollen currants in the spotted dick were tangy in the cake-thick chewy blandness of the pudding, an perhaps I was going to die that night and perhaps I would never go home again, but it was a good dinner, and I had faith in Lettie Hempstock."
Who Should/Shouldn't Read
- Marketed as an adult book, but I disagree, think 11+ would get something from it
- Obviously fans of Gaiman's other book will enjoy
- If you like something a little bit spooky but with insight and heart - this is definitely for you
I purchased this from work - cuz it's Gaiman and the man has an incredible gift