Published by Harper Collins on June 18th 2013
Genres: Coming of Age, Fiction, General, Literary
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.
It sounds trite, but The Ocean at the End of the Lane is an instant classic!
My sole problem with this novel is that it’s touted as an adult novel, when it’s really closer in form and structure to Coraline than American Gods. It’s YA lit in the tradition of Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. I predict that The Ocean at the End of the Lane will one day make it’s way onto summer reading lists everywhere.
It examines the links between childhood and adulthood, things forgotten and things returned. Lots of good stuff.
Read it. Now.
At a mere 181 pages, it’s a quick read, so no excuses!
What’s your favorite Neil Gaiman novel?