[Book Review] The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane / Neil Gaiman (Powell's Books)
"It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang."

The package with my preordered signed copy showed up at 3:30 in the afternoon.  By 5:15 I had devoured the book.  I plan on reading it again, slower and with more care, I know I read this short novel very quickly.  It is nothing like American Gods or Neverwhere or really anything else but at the same time is quintessentially Gaiman.

It was like he reached into my brain and pulled out a beautiful nightmare.  Creepy yet endearing and sentimental with the clear logic of a lucid dream.

Later after another reading or two I may be able to put better words down, deliver more thought out or in depth revelations.  But I'm not sure that my doing so would not be a disservice.  Not everyone will love this novel, but if I were to try and contextualize and summarize this book for a future reader I would be giving my own context and perhaps tainting their own discovery.

This is a book about a man who was once, and perhaps may still be, a boy.  A boy with a family.  A boy who encounters the impossible, the unimagined.  This is the story of a boy who befriends three women and who visits a pond that is ocean enough when it needs to be.

Additional Links:
Neil Gaiman
A Deceptively Simple Tale Of Magic And Peril In 'Ocean' (NPR)


  1. Being such a short book that you can read it in a single sitting (depending on your reading speed), I would heartily recommend it to all readers, whether lovers of fantasy or not.
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