‘Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark’ (Goodreads) (248 pages, June 18th 2013, Headline Review)
This book is really hard to describe and I feel that I will never be able to do it justice in a review of it. So I’m not even going to try. I’m only going to say what impression it left on me and it’s a good one. A really good one.
Honestly I didn’t know what to expect starting this book. On one side, people loved it, on the other side they found it overrated. I was just afraid I was expecting too much of it. But honestly, it was strange in the beginning. It is a fantasy, a family story, a story about memories and how the mind of a child works, but written for adults. But it is so much and more.
It’s one of those special stories, when you read them over and over again, you get something else out of it every time. It has so much more hidden beneath all the words and you can learn so much from it. But it all depends on how you approach this story. If you just want an interesting fantasy story and go into this book with that mindset, then that’s exactly what you’ll get. If you go into this book expecting more, expecting and wanting more a thoughtful process and discussion on how memories work and have an effect on a person, then that’s exactly what you’ll get.
It’s interesting. It’s mind blowing. It’s poetically written. It’s a story about a little boy written for adults. Neil Gaiman never loses this child’s voice. He never falters and loses himself in being too childlike. And it doesn’t surprise me at all it won so many prizes.
4 out of 5 stars. Definitely going to reread this one really soon.