Fiction Reviews, Reviews

Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

15783514Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan. I think he’s an amazing author and person. I’ve read a good bit of his work, and while some of it is really weird (looking at you Neverwhere), the majority of it is great. The Ocean at the End of the Land definitely upheld my view of Neil Gaiman’s superior storytelling talent.

Here’s the summary:

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 story reads like a myth or campfire legend, where tales are always tall and nearly unbelievable. It starts off seemingly normal and then, just like with Gaiman’s other work, sh*t gets weird. The weird, though, is set in the English countryside, with is a perfect setting for sort-of witches and lonely children.

I don’t want to do my usual in-dept review, because I don’t think I could do this story justice, and because this story is somewhat too short to summarize. It’s a great book. It won the Goodread’s Choice in 2013. It’s by Neil Gaiman. So just do yourself a favor and buy it, borrow it, or check it out at the library.


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