Friday, October 11, 2013

The Ocean At the End of the Lane

The Ocean At The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

Mostly, I want to say that this book was way too short.  Neil Gaiman has a gift for storytelling, and this is definitely a testament to that fact.

Our unnamed protagonist is going to a family funeral. On his way, he decides to drive by the place where his family's home once was, when he was a child.  The house is gone, a new housing development in its place. Then he remembers the house at the end of the lane, and the girl who lived there, Lettie, who referred to the pond behind the house as the ocean.  

When he reaches the house he is greeted by an old woman, who tells him that Lettie is away and lets him sit by the pond. As he sits he remembers frightening and traumatic things that happened in his family and all that Lettie did for him and all that she was to him, when he was a little boy.

Now, it would be enough for the story to be just our narrator remembering what happened all those years ago.  Gaiman could have left it there and it would have been fascinating and well worth my time.  But, the ending is so poignant that it was the perfect addendum to the story.  For some time after reading the book, I would still find myself thinking about Lettie.  For so slight a volume, this book packs a whole lot of punch.  Now, some time after reading it, I still wish there had been more. Not that he doesn't tell the tale completely and wonderfully and viscerally, because he does.  I guess he adheres to the old show business adage, and he left me wanting more.

This is a strange and sad and wonderful story.  I look forward to reading whatever Mr. Gaiman writes next.


guiltlessreader said...

So many love this book. Looks like you're not an exception :) So glad you didn't put any spoilers ... I am always wondering what Neil Gaiman has up next and this is one that I really look forward to reading.

Judy Krueger said...

I agree! I agree!

Evie said...

Awesome review! I love Neil Gaiman but haven't yet read The Ocean At The End of the Lane. It sounds so creepy though, and I know it was originally intended to be a short story, but Neil just couldn't stop writing! :) I can't wait to read it, thanks for sharing your thoughts!!!

Anonymous said...

Got to agree it was short! Neil Gaiman left me wanting more.. and it's sad that it ended. But the story was perfectly written. Great review :)