Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

15. August 2013 § 2 Kommentare

It was published in June and only know I hear of it? What the heck! How could this happen!
I usually am well-informed about the new books Neil Gaiman is bringing out. Back in 2008 I had The Graveyard Book preordered. So imagine how shocked I was to find, that there actually was a new Gaiman book I haven’t heard about yet. Of course I rushed into the next book store and catching my breath from running I demanded: „The Ocean. At the End. Of the Lane. Give it to me. Now.“ The sales clerk was a bit confused, probably because people don’t usually order in English where I live, but then he smiled and pointed at the English literature section.
I read it in one go. Except for the last 20 pages – real life disturbed my readings (all though pleasantly). Now I just finished it and I liked it a whole lot.

A seven-year old boy befriends Lettie Hempstock who lives at the end of the lane right beside a duck pond which she likes to call an ocean. The circumstances they meet in are not very pleasant as a man had killed himself in the boys family’s car right beside the Hempstocks premises. How was he supposed to know that this unpleasant incident was just the trigger for many so much more frightening and impossible events. (I just made that up and realised the last sentence to sound so much like and ad.)

I liked this book for the same reason I like all of Gaimans books I have read so far. Because he makes the most unreal and unreasonable things out to be the most normal and common. Since it is a book about travelling between worlds, worlds where you don’t belong and don’t know what’s what, it made me especially happy that he quoted Alice in Wonderland. It fit in perfectly.

The thing I wondered the most about was not actually the unusual stuff, like the world with the orange sky, Ursula Monkton or the Hempstock family, but the perfectly normal boys family. There seemed to be no love between the family members. The little boy didn’t even seem to feel sympathy for his sister. He perceived them more or less like room mates who had some say in his life.
The narrator, the little boy, is one of the most unreliable narrators I have heard a story from too. He often defines stuff as indescribable because it escapes his memory. He has huge memory issues anyway. He loses it temporarily or it gets overwritten. How are you supposed to trust such a narrator?

I start to ramble now. I’m tired and I feel like I already made a million mistakes in this post. If you want to read a good quality review on this book, please check out the Guardian review by AS Byatt. Yes, AS Byatt reviewed this book. How cool is that?!

Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2013


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§ 2 Antworten auf Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

  • Priya sagt:

    Apparently Gaiman said this is the kind of book you’ll need to slowly savour, but even I read it at one go. It did stay on my mind for a long time. It reminded me a lot of Coraline (have you read that?) because it was so absurd and eerie. But I agree with you, Gaiman always makes the strangest things seem completely routine. Also: the A. S. Byatt review!! One of my favourite authors reviews another of my favourite authors: Yay. Love your post!

    • Juleschka sagt:

      Thanks! I haven’t had a chance to read Coraline yet, but I did see the movie adaption. I heard the book is even scarier. Anyway, I have decided that I need to read more of Gaimans works. 🙂

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