Thursday, 28 April 2016

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

review by Maryom

After an absence of many years, the middle-aged narrator has returned to the area in which he grew up, to attend a funeral. But instead of going along with the other mourners, he heads off to visit the, now redeveloped, site of his childhood home, and the farm down the lane where his friend Lettie Hempstock lived. Sitting by the farm pond, he finds himself recalling things that happened when he was a child - things which through the intervening years have been forgotten; the suicide of his family's lodger, the unleashing of supernatural forces, and the stand that he and Lettie took against them ...

I was so over-whelmed by this that, for once, I'm lost for words to say, other than "Wow". I've read other Neil Gaiman books, even own a couple, but never really considered myself a huge fan. The Ocean at the End of the Lane may have changed all that!

You may have guessed, I loved this book. I don't think I've been this gripped by a fantasy novel since I first read Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen as a child. This story has much of the same feel - it too starts in the real world but soon supernatural horrors are bursting in from another world/dimension, there are strands of myth and folklore running through it, and our hero, the narrator, finds himself caught up in the very centre of the struggle to contain and expel those horrors. Fortunately, he has three generations of Hempstock women on his side -  the old grandmother, the mother, and eleven-year-old Lettie who seems wise beyond her years.

Although the hero is a boy of seven, it's not a children's book - my childhood self would have been terrified - though I'm sure it will appeal to many teens as well as adults. I, meanwhile, will be off to the library to borrow as many Neil Gaiman books as they have!

Maryom's review - 5 stars 
Publisher - 
Headline Publishing
Genre - adult, YA, teen,  fantasy, 

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