Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman is his latest adult novel and most recent since the release of Anansi Boys in 2005.  It is an absolute delight of a modern fantasy novel.  It is a quick read clocking at only 181 pages, but never seems too short covering exactly what the author wants you to know and still leaving a sense of mystery.  The story is told from the point of view of an adult male looking back on certain events of his childhood that are both supernatural and terrifying.

The three main female characters, Lettie Hempstock, her mother and her grandmother, are endearingly sketched and unforgettable.  The novel encompasses a time when the narrator lived in a house close to the Hempstocks.  It covers the horror when the boarder who live with the narrator's family, an opal miner, committed suicide, and the surrounding supernatural aftermath.  This part of the book was actually taken from Gaiman's own childhood, when his father's car was stolen and the thief was discovered to have committed suicide in the vehicle.  There is also a delightful photograph on the rear of the book of Gaiman himself as a child standing atop a drainage pipe.

Alas if you are interested in more of the plot, you will have to read the book yourself.  I found it wonderful, so you will not be wasting what little time it takes to finish.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane is another successful entry in Gaiman's pantheon of  modern day fairy tales, and certainly worth a read or two.

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