Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Read Harder Challenge: Could Be (Fantasy novel)
Star Review: ♥ ♥♥ ♥ (+½) /5
Why: Neil Gaiman’s writing has captivated me since I read American Gods many years ago. I actually haven’t read nearly as much of his work as I would have thought, having yet to venture into his comic books such as the well-received Sandman series. That being said, I always have high expectations going into any Gaiman story, this one being no exception.
A small boy all grown up comes to visit a friend and remembers suddenly how they separated years prior. The ensuing pages chronicle his memories of a lodger’s suicide unraveling an evil menacing the world. The boy’s mistake when he was young puts an otherworldly friend to sleep … or something like it.
What I love most about Gaiman’s writing is that it’s like what he seems to be as a person – both British and a complete weirdo. In this book, as in much of his writing that I’ve read so far, there’s the sweetness of a pure child-oriented fantasy world, mixed with the grittiness that makes of every day life, and the taste of wrongness that exists in subtle horror. Gaiman’s genius lies in his unveiling of a story, and in his turns of phrase. He takes a reader on a journey from unknowing to understanding and it’s truly a thing of beauty to witness or, even better, be caught up in. The way Gaiman writes makes me half-smile more than half the time I’m reading. I can’t recommend going on this particular journey with Gaiman enough. I left this one thinking about the nature of youth, good and evil, magic, time, memory, and guilt. Not bad for under 200 pages.Read it now!