From the Muse’s Bookshelf: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman

This post is a tad overdue.

So, a few weeks ago I was preparing to visit some family on the West Coast. Simplistic enough, right? Well, it meant that I also had to fly, which was something I’ve never done before.

To be honest, flying is something I’m not really afraid of—it fascinates me, actually. But it made me anxious. Really, really anxious. On our departure date, as I sat in that plane waiting for take off, I hurriedly pulled out a book; I figured it would help take my mind off of things. The book in question that I grasped in my hands as we took off and flew up into pale blue skies was Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” and if I wasn’t staring out at the clouds every so often I think I would have finished it in the 4-hours-and-change that I spent in the skies.

 

“The Ocean at the End of the Lane” starts off with our narrator going back to his hometown for a funeral. After giving the eulogy, he drives along and finds himself at the Hempstock farm. At the duck pond in the back, his childhood memories wash over him, and he struggles to remember just what happened all those years ago when he was seven. Of all the things he experienced, one major occurrence plagues his mind the most:

What happened to his best friend, a girl named Lettie Hempstock?

What stuck out to me the most—and this is something I absolutely LOVED, by the way—was how reality and fantasy blurred. The reality of the situation is covered by the lens of what our narrator sees, and this also leads the reader to wonder just where the boundaries of reality and fantasy begin and end. As a whole, I loved the book from beginning to end, and I’m glad this was my introduction to Neil Gaiman’s work.

 

Now that it’s back on my shelf, I’m staring at the spine of another novel by Neil Gaiman: “Neverwhere.” But I have to finish off Haruki Murakami’s “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World” first!

 

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