The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Question the reality of magic and the magical possibilities of reality in this short book about childhood, fear, and monsters.

Synopsis:

It opens with a middle-aged man revisiting the place of his old childhood home in England after attending a funeral. His old home has since been torn down, but something inexplicably pulls him back. He ends up driving to the end of the lane where an eerily familiar farmhouse sits. A place that starts bringing back memories of haunting and magically unbelievable events of when he was seven and encountered a strange and remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother.

He hasn’t thought of the Hempstocks in years, but as he sits by the pond behind the old farmhouse, memories come flooding back. He remembers a time that was too scary to have happened to such a small boy as himself. A time when loneliness and books were the things he understood, and the promise of a more magical world was all a boy needed but still feared.

Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren’t.

— Neil Gaiman

Review:

This short read was so melancholy and magical, I really felt it down in my bones.

The ending wasn’t what I expected, and was quite sad…But it left me questioning what I interpreted and revisiting passages, which is when I know it was a good read.

Despite it being about this man’s childhood (or his imagination of it?), I can’t imagine enjoying it as child as fully as I do now. The story left me with an almost palpable feeling of regret and yearning, of questioning the reality of magic and the magical possibilities of reality.

Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.

— Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman
Hardcover, First Edition, 181 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by William Morrow Books

Summary

Despite it being about this man's childhood (or his imagination of it?), I can't imagine enjoying it as child as fully as I do now. The story left me with an almost palpable feeling of regret and yearning, of questioning the reality of magic and the magical possibilities of reality.

— Cassie
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