“The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman

oceanAfter a less-than-stellar review in Entertainment Weekly, I was going to skip Neil Gaiman’s latest, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. But Amy at New Century Reading said it was good, and my friend had it for sale in the comic shop, so I bought and read it.

The book is short and disturbing, like much of Gaiman’s work. Young boy meets interesting people, adventures and bad things happen, adults are thoughtless and cruel, boy grown into man struggles to remember the sacrifice made by a young woman on his behalf.

Oh, did that sound like Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending? Because the two books felt awfully alike to me, though Gaiman’s is narrated from the point of view of a seven-year old, and Barnes’ by a man who is emotionally about seven.

Short and strange, it felt like both and neither a book for adults and children, though except for one sex scene and some gruesome threats, I’d say it skews more toward children. There were many elements that recalled Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time to me.

6 Responses to ““The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman”

  1. Amy Says:

    Hmmm…I wouldn’t have thought to connect the Barnes book to this one. I can see what you’re saying, but the supernatural undertone changes it for me.

  2. Sherry Says:

    I’m finding Neil Gaiman disturbing right now for personal reasons, so I may take a raincheck on this one. Thanks for the review.

  3. Lark Says:

    I can’t decide whether I want to read this book, or not. Everyone is reviewing it lately, but I’m still torn. There’s so many really good books out there to read…does this one measure up? I’m still undecided.

  4. girldetective Says:

    Lark, it’s good but not world changing. But, it’s super short and a fast read, and entertaining. This is a B book, for me.

  5. girldetective Says:

    Sherry, I put your edit into the original comment. Neil Gaiman writes mostly horror, and really graphic horror. This one has a small child witnessing adults acting in a way the child doesn’t understand, and worse, a violent scene between a parent and child. It’s not just you–Neil Gaiman’s work _is_ disturbing.

  6. Amy Brandon Says:

    I agree with your assessment completely.