The Ocean at the End of the Lane may be my absolute favorite Gaiman. I could probably say, and no doubt have said, that Neverwhere, and American Gods are as well, and mean(t) it for each. Likely whichever I’ve read last is my favorite, which for now is The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It’s only 178 pages, but that is because it is the distilled essence of amazing storytelling. I have read books with hundreds of more pages that have failed to pack half as much punch as this small novel.
It is the story of a man remembering the forgotten pieces of his childhood after returning to his hometown for a funeral. We never learn whose funeral, but it isn’t important. In fact we never learn the name of the man/boy, but that doesn’t matter either. It is a story of magic and wonder, fear, courage, and sacrifice, and of friendship and family. This story is filled with many dark moments, but you never feel a loss of hope. It is a story that is beautiful in its sadness leaving you in a state of contemplative melancholy. It has for me both times I’ve read it at least.
I don’t want to describe the plot because of spoilers, but I would love to learn more about the Hempstock ladies (and men!). Or the old country even. As I stated in my review of The Ice Dragon, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a story that, to me at least, is less about the story itself, and more about how it makes me feel. I would describe it to you, but I’m not sure I fully understand it myself.
Others could do a better job of it I’m sure. Perhaps after further rereads I’ll be able to do it justice. And I will definitely be rereading this again as it is easily one of my favorite books. I appreciated it even more this reread than I did the first time.
My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆