The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman
my rating: 2 out 5 stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.
So this book was described as a fairy tale for adults and I definitely see why. Not only is there magic, but there’s a different aspect of good and evil. Not necessarily good but also not necessarily evil. That being said. The beginning of this book was very hard to get into. There is such a rough start, after about 50 pages or so things start to pick up within the plot.
I am amazed at how well Gaiman was able to build up the main characters, Lettie and the Nameless Boy, and make them so loveable all within 181 pages. I realize that most authors build up their characters within 180 pages in any other book but if you scale the proportions out from say 425 pages and scale it down to 181 pages that really doesn’t leave much room for character growth or development but Gaiman nailed it.
I also loved how the main character loved cats, it made me want to curl up with mine, but she decided going outside and hunting was more fun. So much for pet bonding 😉
At the end of the day, I’m glad I read this, but I don’t think I would really recommend it to anyone as its pretty unusual and I spent a good portion of it just confused as hell. Regardless I’ve wanted to read it ever since it came out in 2013 so it’s now crossed off my book bucket list 🙂