The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman)Tuesday, 9. July 2013
Our middle-aged narrator returns to his hometown for a funeral and uses the opportunity to stop by his old home. Pretty much without thinking about it, he also ends up at his former neighbor’s place and starts to recall the girl who lived there, Lettie. Lettie who told him the pond behind her house was an ocean. As he gazes at said pond he begins to remember that there was more to Lettie, to their story and to the pond than a simple childhood friendship.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a smart book, written in Gaiman’s wonderful prose. And while I didn’t connect with it as much as with American Gods or Neverwhere, it is still an excellent read that is way too short.
There were many things that I liked about The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Gaiman knows how to write beautiful, beautiful prose and the book is full of little turns and phrases that I loved. Plus, it created a wonderful atmosphere and tension and you feel part of the setting. I practically didn’t notice that we never get to know the narrator’s name because I was so much in his head. And I cried at the absolutely awful scene with the boy!narrator and his father. I cry rarely at books, but that scene is like a punch in the heart.
I also enjoyed Lettie and her mother and her grandmother. Those characters were fun.
What I had a bit of trouble with was the plotting. I can’t really say what exactly went wrong for me there, but I think it was the switch of antagonists towards the end: somehow the resolution with Ursula came to quickly and then I wasn’t interested that much anymore in the bigger bad.
But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t inhale the book almost at once. Because it’s really short. And it also doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have loved to get more of it. Becuase I would. So it’s still a pretty damn fantastic book.
Summarising: yes, good.