Tuesday, September 06, 2016

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.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

Wow. I knew going into this that it was going to be good, due to all of the buzz and positive reviews it had gotten (plus, it's Gaiman), but it wasn't until I picked it up and had begun reading that I knew it would be amazing. The thing about Neil Gaiman is that he is a true weaver of tales - he uses metaphors and language in a way that truly makes his books feel like home. There is a sense of comfort that emanates from his novels in a way that I have never seen before - they are not just books, they are dear friends you never knew you missed. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is no different.

This novel is of the magical realism genre, which is no surprise as everything Gaiman writes has a feel of magic to it. Overall, I'd say that the tone of this novel was reminiscent to that of the movie Stand By Me, as they give off similar feelings of intangible childhood nostalgia, and that sad pang of realization that arrives when you experience that loss of childhood innocence. In other words, this one gave me all the feels.

I know that this review is about as lame it gets, but I fear that anything I have to say about this novel would be sub-par, and wouldn't give it any justice. I don't really know what I can say about this novel, other than READ IT! If you are a true lover of books and stories (which you must be to be visiting a book blog), then you will appreciate a lot of what this book has to offer. Do NOT pass this one up!