The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

Posted: September 23, 2013 in fantasy, Review

the ocean at the end of the laneI was taken back to childhood in this novel – though not my childhood, except… It did remind me just a bit of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic science fantasy “A Wrinkle in Time”, which was one of my favourite books as a child, and I suppose that the comparison is inescapable. Both novels have child protagonists, both feature trios of strange ancient women, and both involve travelling to strange places – though Gaiman’s novel takes us even further than L’Engel’s, to realms outside of space and time. And I don’t doubt that this novel will also take its place among the classics of fantasy literature.

It’s quite beautiful, a book which can be read upon many levels like the very best of poetry. There are oceanic depths here, and I’m not just talking about the pond that is an ocean that goes deeper than imagination. That said, I’m not sure whether it’s a book for adults about childhood, or a book for children about adulthood, and I’m not sure that that really matters (except possibly to booksellers and librarians).

It is told from the point of view of an adult remembering events from his childhood, and I hope that doesn’t put the teachers of literature off using this novel in their classes, because I can see how much many young people would gain from reading and studying it. Expect there to be awards. I’m not going to go any further into what the novel is about; this is a book that needs to be experienced, and I suggest you go now, and find a copy so you CAN experience it. Do not wait for the movie… (There is one planned).


Supplied by Hatchette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

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