The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While in his home town for a funeral, a middle aged man drives to the site of his parents' former home and visits visits the farm at the end of the road, where he remembers some curious events from when he was seven...
First off, I'll get the gripes out of the way. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is marketed as Gaiman's first adult novel since Anansi Boys. It feels a lot more like a young adult novel, more akin to the Graveyard Book or Coraline than American Gods. Secondly, it's only 175 pages long. In and of itself, that's fine, but with a whopping 25.99 price tag, it's kind of a gouge.
Gripes aside, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a pretty cool book. Gaiman does a masterful job at portraying the nameless lead character, a seven year old boy who befriends at odd eleven-year old girl named Lettie, who may or may not be as old as the universe, and her mother and grand mother. Maiden, mother, and crone remember the Old Country, which sank, or the really Old Country, which blew up.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, like a lot of Neil Gaimain work, deals with dreams, the effect of belief on reality, and forgotten things, like things that every kid knows and every adult has forgotten.
There's not a lot I can say without giving away the best bits. Gaiman has a way of making his young adult books way scarier than his adult ones and this one falls into that category. Urusula and the hunger birds were both pretty creepy, as was what happened with the boy's foot.
That's about all I can say. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a really quick read but full of interesting ideas and great moments. Four out of five. I may elevate it to a five on a reread.
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