Review of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane'

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

ocean_at_the_end.jpg Remembrances of an unusual childhood summer full of tragedy and mystery where the young author learns about the meaning of life and the value of friendship. Forced to take borders the due to his family's financial problems, a South African opal miner staying with them tragically commits suicide at the end of the lane. On discovering the body the young man is confused and upset so a young girl, Letti Hempstock, offers to take the him to her nearby farmhouse where she lives with her mother and “Old Lady” Hempstock - a family unlike any other. Seeking to show the young man a little of her world Letti takes him for a walk in search of a “blue bottle” that very quickly takes a turn for the magical. Returning from their small adventure something evil has returned with them…a creature that takes the form of a woman who takes up boarding with the author's family then systematically begins to tear it apart…

A wonderfully written and touching story from a talented author and master of fantasy. Gaiman's power is being able to make the fantastic seem ordinary.

In “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” the reader is convincingly transported to the world of the author's youth but where deeper truths lie clearly just below the surface. The narrator's innocence is touching and heart-warming. We feel his pain with the situation he finds himself in. However, at the end of the day, this is very much a fun adventure story that keeps the reader guessing as to what is really going on. The young narrator clearly does not completely comprehend what is happening around him yet reports it so we can try to see some sense in it. Despite this, delightfully, much of the mystery remains. Yep, it is quite odd but at the same time warm and deeply personal.

A fun, light read that lovers of childhood and fantasy will certainly enjoy. A melancholy return to the long-lost innocence of youth but certainly not, I would say, a book for the young but rather for those nostalgic of days gone by.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2017-01-27

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: headline

ISBN: 9781472235312

Other reviewed books by Neil Gaiman:

Other reviewed books by Neil Gaiman, and Terry Pratchett: