Published by Headline (2014)
First published 2013
Read more about the author: Neil Gaiman Office Site
This is what he remembers, as he sits by the ocean at the end of the lane:
A dead man on the back seat of the car,
and warm milk at the farmhouse;
An ancient little girl, and an old woman who saw the moon being made;
A beautiful housekeeper with a monstrous smile;
And dark forces woken that were best left undisturbed.
They are memories hard to believe, waiting at the edges of things. The recollections of a man who thought he was lost but is now, perhaps, remembering a time when he was saved ...
This was the second Neil Gaiman novel I have attempted. I say attempted, because I did not finish American Gods which I just could not get on with, so I was interested to see how I got on with his latest novel. Neil Gaiman is such a popular (and prolific and genre-crossing!) author; his fans adore him and I've heard so much about his "beautiful writing" that I really wanted to appreciate it for myself. And I am relieved and happy to report that Neil Gaiman redeemed himself in my eyes!
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a wonderful grown up fairy tale. It has sinister and fantastical elements that sweep you off into another world where everything is strange and nothing is as it seems. It is fast paced and interesting, and I flew through the pages at a rapid rate (I burnt the dinner!).
Although this is a fantastical fairy tale, Gaiman's observations on 'real life' are astute and honest ...
"Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences."
How true is that? And how sad that as adults we lose that adventurous, exploring spirit.
"Lettie shrugged. 'Nobody looks like what they really are on the inside. You don't. I don't. People are much more complicated than that. It's true of everybody.' "Sigh. So true.
So, y'know, I loved this book. Read it!