The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

15 Jul

If Neil Gaiman isn’t a Time Lord himself then he must live in a magical realm that mere humans are not privy to and therefore must write us magical tales and sell them as fiction. Neil Gaiman, I love you.

I have been waiting for “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” since I got the email from B&N that I could pre-order the book way back in April. I was not disappointed. Here is a book that reminds you that sometimes seeing things differently as a child is okay, you were merely seeing the truth that adults were blind to. Gaiman reminds his readers that magic exists but that maybe those who live near magic are not so eager to share it with the other world–they are too busy keeping it at bay and keeping it from destroying the world they love (ahem, TIME LORD MUCH?). Now that I think about it: maybe this is just a book about lady time lords.

The story seems simple enough: A man is attending a funeral in his hometown and he finds himself, in his grief, driving to the house at the end of the lane, a place where he played as a child. While he is there he starts to remember a particularly vivid and dangerous summer when he was 7 and the girl at the house at the end of the lane, Lettie Hemstock, was 11. Suddenly we are taken back in time to the summer when the man, as a young boy, must move out of his room for a renter. This renter kills himself in the boy’s father’s car at the end of the lane. Suddenly, strange things happen. The boy and Lettie unleash a creature into the world that is as old or older than the world itself, a creature from “the old country.” The boy and Lettie must trap the creature and destroy it before it destroys the world.

By the end of the book you wonder how many times you’ve found yourself forgetting something whimsical and magical from your childhood thinking it was just a dream but now second guessing yourself–maybe it was real. Maybe, you had the grandest adventure of your life.

As an afterthought:

Did anyone get to this passage and wonder if he was throwing out a Doctor Who reference,(maybe I read too fast but it seems like an interesting choice of words)? pg. 143, “I knew where Rose was–the peculiar crinkling of space into dimensions that fold like origami and blossom like strange orchids, and which would mark the last good time before the eventual end of everything and the next Big Bang, which would be, I knew now, nothing of the kind.”


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