Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I read this for the R.I.P challenge and because Neil Gaiman's books tend to creep me out, in a good way. This was a short novel and a fairly quick read, but as usual it is a really deep read too.

The male protagonist returns to his old country neighborhood, because of a funeral. He goes to where his old house used to stand and walks down the road to the Hempstock farm. There he remembers an incident in his childhood, when magic and evil collided and he became friends with Lettie Hempstock. The boy starts the tale with the death of his kitten and the suicide of an opal miner. This leads him to meet the Hempstock women and to go on an adventure with Lettie that ends with an evil presence invading his life. To get rid of the evil, it will require a huge sacrifice and the boy will never be the same.

All of Gaiman's books have a deeper meaning to them. This seems to be about the magical Hempstock family, but it is also about the loss of innocence in childhood. It also seemed to me to be about memory and how we choose to remember things in our past. The man in his flashback remembers most of the story, but even that is clouded and he never remembers the story in the same way. You are always left breathless at the end of a Gaiman novel.

Favorite Character: Lettie and really any of the Hempstock women. Lettie is self-sacrificing, her grandmother is wise, and her mother is strong. What great heroines!

Favorite Quotes: "Different people remember things differently, and you'll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not. You stand two of you lot next to each other, and you could be continents away for all it means anything."

"You don't pass or fail at being a person, dear."

A quick deep read with just a touch of creepiness. 4 cups of cocoa!


  1. Sounds great -- the only Neil Gaiman book I've read is Coraline, but this one sounds really interesting!

    Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. I enjoy his writing style, although most of his books are a bit creepy. The button eyes in Coraline were spookier to me than most horror movies. :) I listened to The Graveyard Book, which he narrated, and it made the book even better.