“That,’ said Old Mrs. Hempstock, with satisfaction in her voice, ‘was a very respectable job of snipping and stitching, if you ask me.’ She held up my dressing gown: I could not see where she had removed a piece, nor where she had stitched it up. It was seamless, the mend invisible. She passed me the scrap of fabric on the table that she had cut. “Here’s your evening,” she said. “You can keep it if you wish. But if I were you, I’d burn it.” (The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman)
I fell in love with Neil Gaiman when I first read The Graveyard Book for the way he harnesses language and story-line to create a world. Neil Gaimon doesn’t just write a story, he recreates each aspect of storytelling to suit his purposes. The Ocean at the End of the Lane dreamily seesaws between the present and the past so that the book seems a fleeting dream to the reader as much as it does to the characters. The magic Gaiman plays with has its own concrete system and language, it just remains largely unknown to the reader except for the fantastic impression it makes of a reality old, fragile, and malleable.
Though Gaiman usually writes hundred page books for kids and epics for adults, this time he wrote a slim, beautiful volume for any age at all. This book is remarkable for more than just its otherworldly story – the pages themselves are thick, creamy and deckled, and the type well printed. The Ocean at the End of the Lane should be read in one sitting. I don’t say this because I’m suggesting perseverance, but because you must clear your schedule for about an hour and a half since nothing will get done until you have read the book straight through, with extra time for day-dreaming.
Recommended Action: Buy –
Borrow – TBR – Avoid
Ending: like coming out of a dream and not knowing what it meant
Further Reading: You must try out Neil Gaiman’s children’s stories. Other than that, I saw a great similarity in the way Gaiman and Jo Walton (of Among Others) explore magic – they both create the feeling that magic is there, influencing the world, and is both reachable and unknowable to us.