A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman’s first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.
This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real...
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As always great narration by the author and a wonderfully told story.
Caveat emptor - and then love it.
This is a great little book, but the iTunes summery and it being published as an “adult” novel may be somewhat misleading, not only for those unfamiliar with Gaimans work, but also for his fans.
This is no “American Gods” or “Good Omens”. It’s also no maudlin Sparksesque heaving - which is what the iTune summery put me in mind of. But my love of Neal Gaiman outweighed my reservations and my dislike of short novels. “The Ocean At The End Of The Lane” is a small gem.
Gaiman, like many great artists from Picasso to Sendak, is interested in how children perceive the world and reality and how that perception is lost, or repressed, in adulthood. His medium is the grand tradition of the English fantasy writer. He follows in the footsteps of titans like Carroll, Lewis and Tolkien. The result is a story with a heavy fantasy element, bookended with that restless, adult sense of something lost, or forgotten.
The book is bittersweet and powerful. Gaimans imagery is fantastically sensual, for example, when his characters eat lumps of honeycomb or porridge with yellow cream and dollops of jam, he can make you feel sated instead of hungry, It’s like a memory being awakened that you didn’t know you had. He’s a master of evocative phrasing that can trigger a cascade of strangely familiar sensations and can convey a sense of vast depths in a few words.
I think that sensation,as children experience it, is the raison d’etre of “The Ocean At The End Of The Lane”. There’s no logical explanation of who or what many of the characters are, there is no definitive conclusion. There is memory, loss, growing up, moving on and wondering. Not that it’s a sad story, if you have a sense of wonder, you’ll love it.
I don’t think it’s Gaimans greatest book - i think that’s yet to come. But it’s great enough. As he often does, he reads his own work and he ties with David Sedaris for the title of Greatest Audiobook Narrator In The Known Universe. I would NEVER read one of his books with just my eyes if he’s reading the audiobook. He’s so good that I even listened to the last part, which he advises listeners is just a list of names and credits. I just wanted to see if my name came up at all. It didn’t. No, Gaiman doesn’t know me. But that’s the kind of thing his books will do to you. Maybe next time.
no one could read it better
the only thing better than reading this book myself, which I did, in a few hours is having Neil read it to me. It's a bed time story for grown-ups.