The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

It was my first book by Neil Gaiman and I enjoyed it. I do think it is aimed at a bit younger reader, because it sometimes is a bit naive, but enjoyable read nonetheless.

An unnamed man comes back to his hometown for a funeral and on impulse revisits places from his childhood rediscovering events that formed him. It is a fairy tale about the power of belief, it managed to get me in child’s frame of mind, when world is on one hand a lot simpler and on the other a lot more complicated. It is a world where there is disconnect between grown ups and children, because grown ups do not perceive children as their equal, as fully formed human beings, but the children are also perceiving the word differently, their mind more attuned to the ‘magical’ element in it, more willing to accept it.

For me it was also a book about what we lose when we grow up, not a new topic by any means, but I think Gaiman did a good job in reminding the reader that in the rush of our lives we lose some sensitivity and a lot of imagination. He also reminded me how powerful emotion is fear when you’re a child, how things can get really terrifying, things that as grown ups we simply dismiss. It was interesting to see how the mind forgets things that do not fit its picture of reality, how odd things are pushed out from memory and replaced with ‘reasonable’ justifications.

It was a well written fairy tale, touching on all the topics a good fairy tale should touch: loss, magic, passing of time, power of imagination. As I mentioned I probably am a bit too cynical to be deeply moved by this book, but it was a good read anyway. I plan to read American Gods next.

Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska @ vkphotospace

6 thoughts on “The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

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  2. This was also my first book by Neil Gaiman, and I have to admit that it didn’t do much for me. Adult ‘fairy tales’ don’t usually appeal to me, but I was curious about him and everyone was raving about this book. It makes me think I might not be the right audience for any of his books. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of American Gods.


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