Childhood can be terrifying. Struggling to understand the seemingly impossible, dealing with a reality that is beyond your ability to construct or deconstruct and suffering with the nightmares that follow you into daylight, are all issues children must deal with every day. Add multiple literary award-winning author, Neil Gaiman to the equation and be prepared to experience those feelings all over again.
In his most recent book, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”, Neil Gaiman reminds the reader what it was like to believe a lake could be an ocean, your best friend could be immortal and your parents couldn’t always protect you.
The novel opens as a middle-age man has returned to the place he grew up to attend a funeral. As his memories come back to him, he is once again his 7 year old self, short on friends and happiest when he’s reading a good book.
After the man who rents out his old bedroom is found dead in his car, the result of a successful suicide attempt, something dark and sinister is unleashed in the world. Something that threatens the little boy’s entire way of life and the world he has come to know. It is at this time when the boy meets a young girl named Lettie Hempstock, her Mother and Grand-Mother, remarkable women who can do remarkable things. But, mostly, they promise to keep him safe from the bad things.
Fans of Neil Gaiman’s previous work will, undoubtedly, recognize his continuing genius. His gift for weaving fascinating stories that grab the reader and asks them to sell their soul for its sake is unparallel. And, in “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”, we gladly relinquish our hearts, souls and time to a story that reminds us what it was like to be young, afraid and have that one special person you can rely on no matter how scary things became.
Like most of Neil Gaiman’s work, the book leaves you with as many questions as it attempts to answer.
“The Ocean at the End of the Lane” is a novel, that well after you have finished reading it, continues to haunt you like an apparition you can never really see, but are always aware of its presence.
But, aren’t some of the best experiences a reader can have almost always found in a story that brings back those memories we thought long gone? And doesn’t part of us still wish they were real? Though they couldn’t possibly be … could they?
Neil Gaiman began to amass his huge and devoted following while writing the groundbreaking series ‘Sandman’, collecting a large number of US awards in its 75 issue run, including nine Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and three Harvey Awards. In 1991, ‘Sandman’ became the first comic ever to receive a literary award, the 1991 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story.
Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels ‘Neverwhere’ (1995), ‘Stardust’ (1999), the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning ‘American Gods’ (2001), ‘Anansi Boys’ (2005), and ‘Good Omens’ (with Terry Pratchett, 1990), as well as the short story collections ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ (1998) and ‘Fragile Things’ (2006).
His first collection of short fiction, ‘Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions,’ was nominated for the UK’s MacMillan Silver Pen Awards as the best short story collection of the year. Most recently, Gaiman was both a contributor to and co-editor with Al Sarrantonio of ‘Stories’ (2010), and his own story in the volume, ‘The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains,’ has been nominated for a number of awards.
‘American Gods’ has just been released in an expanded tenth anniversary edition, and there is an HBO series in the works.
I hope you enjoyed my review of “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman. I highly recommend it. If you did enjoy the review, please hit the subscribe button above to receive all my new reviews and articles as soon as they are published.
Coming up on the “Tampa Bay Books Examiner” page, a review of “Skinner” by Charlie Huston.
Also, for all things Anne Rice, please visit the “Anne Rice Examiner” page where “The People of the Page” (as Anne calls her Facebook fans) are excitedly counting down the days to the sequel to “The Wolf Gift”, with “The Wolves of Mid-Winter” coming this October.
See you next time!