Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Source: Borrowed from the library
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.
I have read a few Gaiman books and I have to admit this is my favorite. It quite a short novel but there is a lot of story packed into this 180 pages.
The story begins with a man returning to his childhood home for a funeral. The home he remembers as a child was demolish a long time ago but he feels an urge to visit the farm at the end of the road. He falls into a memory of when he was seven and he meet Lettie Hempstock who lived at the farm and told him that the pond at the end of the lane was an ocean.
Lettie is a girl who is a little older than the main character but befriends him and saves him from strange and dangerous things when he is a boy. I really enjoyed the friendship between these two characters. The protagonist family falls into the background of the story and they are not really developed throughout the story. Lettie's grandmother and her mother are more dominate characters in this story. I loved all of these characters, even the wicked ones.
The story was strange and whimsical. The plot is a little incomplete. There is a lot of ideas and bits of back story thrown into this novel but I do not feel like we really ever truly find out much about why there is an ocean at the end of the lane or really any details about the characters. I did not notice this until I finished the book then I started to think of all of the things that were left unanswered. This was a really great book and I do highly recommend it. I hope this story or at least the world we glimpse in this story is continued on in the future.