Thursday, March 5, 2015
The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
My first thought, when I finished this fairly short book was beautiful. This book is beautiful, although I do not know why. It's a bit creepy at time, and a bit scary (thought not as scary as Coraline, which kept me up at night), but something about it strikes me as poetic, or beautiful. Perhaps it's the ending (which I shall not spoiler).
The Ocean at the end of the Lane is about the narrator (what is his name? I just realised I don't know his name, yet I feel like I know him) as he remembers his childhood. He's an unremarkable boy, but he meets the very remarkable Lettie Hempstock, who, along with her mother and grandmother, isn't quite what he seems. From this chance encounter, the narrator meets the things that shouldn't be here in the world, and quite accidentally unleashes on of them on his home.
One interesting thing about this book is memory. It's a theme that's only explored towards the end of the book, but it made me wonder about how unique this remembrance is. Did the narrator come back after a long time, or had he simply forgotten his previous visits, in order to remain normal. After all, there are some things that may be better off unremembered, especially things like friends who are gone.
I want this book to be so much longer. It's really short, at 178 pages in paperback, and so much more could be said. What is this Old Country? What exactly are the fleas and the varmin? Who are the Hempstocks? But I suppose, part of the magic is that Neil Gaiman leaves a lot of space, for the things unsaid to settle in your imagination.
I do not know what else you can say about this book. When I finished reading, I thought that I had a lot to say, but now that my hands are on the keyboard, I find that I cannot find the words to express my feelings. Neil Gaiman has written a wonderful book, and I loved it.