The Ocean at the End of the Lane : Book Review

Saturday, 26 April 2014

'This is what he remembers, as he sits by the ocean at the end of the lane: 
A dead man on the back seat of the car, and warm milk at the farmhouse; 
An ancient little girl, and an old woman who saw the moon being made; 
A beautiful housekeeper with a monstrous smile; 
And dark forces woken that were best left undisturbed.'  

No words. I have no words. Nope. 

Neil Gaiman you brilliant man you. This book is everything an adult fairy tale should be. After reading Gone Girl this book was like a warm hug but also has possibly two of the most terrifying villains I have ever staying awake thinking about. This book begins with a middle aged man returning to his hometown for a funeral which by a strange coincidence, then finds himself driving to the farm of his childhood friend. However this farm is different as it has an ocean in the back garden disguised as a lily pond. Oh yeah. The man then starts to remember his time living on the lane and the strange and magical events that happened there.  

This book flips from the utterly magical and wonderful to the ever so slightly disturbing. For example, as previously mentioned the villains are utterly terrifying. The demon like creature trapped in the body of a beautiful housekeeper is scary enough but the fact this is seen through the eyes of a seven year old boy means that things he sees and does not necessarily pick up on are ten times more disturbing for an adult reader. The other monster is too traumatic to talk about, like there is something under your bed traumatic. 

However this book is very refreshing. It feels like Gaiman is not trying to be overly clever with the plot or feels like the story needed to be extensively developed. Instead he expertly uses his descriptive language to create this world at the end of the lane that could exist naturally or just in the imagination of a seven year old child. Regardless, I am in love with this book it is flawless.  

The next book I will be reading is ... 'A Long Way Down' by Nick Hornby.