The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

oceanA seven-year old boy learns about fear and friendship in a surreal stretch of his young life.

Our hero, as it were, is a shy child whose adventures lie within the covers of his favorite books.  Reality and strangeness come calling when a boarder at his family’s house runs over the boy’s kitten and then commits suicide in the family car.

The car is found close by to a farmhouse inhabited by Lettie Hempstock, her mother, and grandmother, who provide a refuge for the boy, as one is soon needed.  Apparently the death of the boarder has unleashed something unspeakable and bad.

That something takes over the boy’s family, alienates him from them, and nearly takes his life.  Luckily he has the Hempstocks on his side, and it’s a good thing, because they show themselves to be formidable foes to his adversary.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane has a fairy tale quality that soon switches to outright terror, as only a small child can envision it.  The Hempstock ladies are figures straight out of mythology, with enough English civility to make things homy.  As the rest of the world is in turmoil, the Hempstock farm is a constant, a steady place where the bad things are kept at bay.

And of course, there’s the pond on the farm.

It’s been too long of a hiatus from Neil Gaiman’s books for me.  I think I tend to balk at reading his stuff because of the hype that ensues every time he writes something new.  This one, though, was worth it, even three years after publication.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: