The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
by Neil Gaiman
Published: 18th June 2013
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
This is what he remembers, as he sits by the ocean at the end of the lane:
A dead man on the back seat of the car, and warm milk at the farmhouse;
An ancient little girl, and an old woman who saw the moon being made;
A beautiful housekeeper with a monstrous smile;
And dark forces woken that were best left undisturbed.
They are memories hard to believe, waiting at the edges of things. The recollections of a man who thought he was lost but is now, perhaps, remembering a time when he was saved…
I originally heard of this book when I was watching a ‘favourites of 2013’ video from Abookaffair. I was interested to see what made this book stand out to her so much for myself. When I saw this book in the Tesco book deal, I snatched it up, and saved it for my week off so I can sit and read the book in one sitting.
Initially, I was concerned with the books length. It is only 235 pages, and I wondered how this book could deliver a full, well developed, story without a jarred ending or lack of characterisation. I was very pleased once I’d turned the final page. It is a beautifully written novel, which is nothing like I’ve ever read before. I’m really glad I left the book so I could binge read it, as I really couldn’t put it down.
A very small summary of the book: a nameless, middle aged man, returns to his childhood home. The man has become lost in life, and returns to reminisce and find himself. This book is described as a fantasy novel for adults, and I would absolutely agree with that. The book is from the point of view of the man, but through the eyes of his seven year old self. At that age, everything is magical and your perspective of the world is wonderful, and vivid. Gaiman does a marvellous job at bringing the world to life, and the description feels authentic and picturesque. His characters are well described and unique, I absolutely loved reading about Ursula Monkton. She is a very chilling character!
The fantasy elements are what really bring this novel to life, it is about a man that is finding himself, but it’s about the blurred lines between fantasy and reality as a child. As adults we disconnect from our memories, and justify everything in hindsight. For example, I woke up once and thought I saw a hooded figure in my room. As a child, I thought I’d seen something ghostly, but as an adult I think I was still half asleep, or could have been dreaming. A small example from the novel, the boy remember his father enjoying burnt toast, but he learns later in life that he didn’t and he wanted to avoid waste. This effected his view of his childhood, and it made me wonder about my own childhood, and how I remember things.
Overall, I absolutely adored this novel. It was truly a fantastic read. I would recommend this to everybody, because I think it can be enjoyed by any age. I will be lending my copy to my mum, as I know she will love it. This book won a book of the year 2013 award, and it is thoroughly deserving of it. Also, I heard this book is being adapted into a film, so as soon as it is released I will be rushing to the cinema to watch it!
Please read this book, I cannot recommend it enough. Hurry!!