Also by this author: American Gods
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on June 18, 2013
Read synopsis on Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours.
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
This was my first Neil Gaiman book and it was not at all what I expected. For whatever reason, I thought Gaiman wrote brooding social commentaries along the lines of Philip Roth that were rooted in the real world. This may be the case for his other books, but not so much with The Ocean At the End of the Lane (although social commentaries do exist). That said, I still really enjoyed this book. I read it in one sitting and was left pondering the philosophical questions it left me with for a long time after I put it down.
In short, the book is about a man who goes to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Once he gets there, he’s drawn to the house at the end of the lane, although he’s not entirely sure why. Once there, he begins to remember the unsavory bits and pieces of his childhood that he had blocked from his memory, and it’s these memories that constitute the book itself
What I loved about this book, other than the story, of course, is that brought me back to a time when magic was real and out-of-the-ordinary things weren’t cause for alarm. I was able to to accept the unlikely events alongside the protagonist, an unnamed boy the age of seven. I remembered what it was like to think that monsters were real, the world was magical, and nothing bad could happen. I remembered the house on the corner that we were all afraid of and sleeping with the lights on because I didn’t trust my own imagination. I remembered all that, and more, because Gaiman transports the reader back to a time of childlike wonder.
Under the surface, though, Gaiman paints a powerful, but subtle, social commentary on how temporary our existence in this fragile world is. He shines a light on the underbelly of human nature and takes jabs at our obsession with money. It’s not overt, but for the astute reader, it’s there – because beneath the magic and childlike wonder, an evil is lurking at the end of the lane.
Note: Lettie Hempstock’s name is spelled wrong, but this was the best trailer I could find. For full tour information, scroll down.