TITLE: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
AUTHOR: Neil Gaiman
PUBLISHER: Headline Publishing Group
GENRE: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Horror, Adult
RATING: 4.5/5 Stars
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.
What I Liked:
- Neil Gaiman's imagination seriously never ceases to amaze me. Some of the crazy things this man comes up with are so bizarre, and yet I love it all! This book was no different. He created a world that seemed like nothing more than a man's distant memory of a somewhat magical childhood. And yet, there was an underlying sinister tone that something was not quite right. Did it all happen or was it in his head? I was gripped from start to finish, and there were some pretty horrifying events that kept my eyes glued to the page.
- The characters were pretty cool in this one. The Nameless Boy was a likeable hero, despite the fact that nameless main characters usually irritate me. The Hempstocks were a curious, fun family and they reminded me a lot of one of my friends, her Mother and Grandmother. Seriously, the likeness is uncanny. I also really liked Ursula Monkton as a villain.
What I Disliked:
- The fact that the story was short meant that it was a bit of a whirlwind and I couldn't help but feel disappointed that the story wasn't longer and more fully explored. Ursula Monkton for example could definitely have stuck around a bit longer to cause more havoc than she did! She had so much potential!
I have enjoyed a few Gaiman books recently, but this is definitely my favourite so far. It had a really cool concept, good characters, and a fantastically creative world in which it was set. I will forever worship the imagination of Neil Gaiman, it amazes and horrifies at the same time. I just wish the book had been longer!