July 5, 2016
Hello Readers! Welcome to our Tour Stop for
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman!
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.
Includes bonus features: a meet with Neil Gaiman, a reading group guide, and an interview with Gaiman.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a huge fan of Neil Gaiman. The Graveyard Book and Coraline were two stories that I’ve held dear to my chest over the years, and I’ve always had Gaiman’s novels and graphic novels close to the height of my TBR pile. Naturally, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one of these novels. I’ve seen it studied in high school, and raved about online, and I’m excited that I can finally say that I too have finished reading this book. It is without a doubt one of the most fantastic, weird, and wonderfully told stories that I have ever read.
Upon returning to his childhood home, a middle-aged man is faced with memories from his childhood. In them, he recalls his adventures with Lettie Hempstock, a girl only a few years his senior. Alongside Lettie, he watches as strange events shakes their town after a man commits suicide along the side of the road. Suddenly nightmares are becoming very real, and holes appear in people’s bodies with something living inside them. Something dark has been unleashed in their town, something unpredictable that has a way of bringing monsters to life.
The one thing that I immediately noticed about The Ocean at the End of the Lane is that the writing is stellar. From the very first page, there is a dark tone that is established and immediately sets the mood. Readers will know that this is not a novel about mundane occurances right off the bat. The tone of the novel can be expected from Gaiman, but it’s the writing itself that makes the novel memorable. There are so many scenes that are articulated perfectly and leave readers with haunting, and sometimes horrifying, imagery.
I loved almost everything about The Ocean at the End of the Lane. My only complaint about the novel was the pacing. For such a short read, it felt surprisingly lengthy. There were moments where I couldn’t put the novel down, and ones where I found myself eager for something exciting to occur. I would have to say that The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the kind of novel that you can either read only in one sitting, or need to sporadically pick up and delve into.
I would recommend The Ocean at the End of the Lane to readers who are looking for a novel that is dark and, at times, frightening. It’s a novel that incorporates fantasy elements into a modern setting and adds its own unique twists. This is also a novel that I think readers who like being pushed out of their comfort zone (what with there being scenes that dealt with body horror) would thoroughly enjoy.