The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Published: 2013
Narrated by: Neil Gaiman

A man returns to his childhood home after attending a funeral and finds himself drawn to the neighbouring home of a little girl he once knew but had forgotten. Memories start flooding back, and he remembers himself as a young boy stumbling across a tragic scene, one that allowed the unworldly access to our world.

I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind for this novel. I love Neil Gaiman and have read everything by him, except for most of his comics (and his Duran Duran biography obviously), but something about this one just didn’t grab me. I think it’s because I was visiting home when I listened to this, dealing with some pretty shitty news, and I just wasn’t in the mood for whimsy. And Gaiman is the reigning king of whimsy.

This is an interesting case for re-reading books, I think, something I basically refused to do until just recently. I’m a fan of Gaiman’s writing, and I liked the idea here (and really enjoyed the ending, actually), so I plan to read this again in the next decade. I know I’ll eventually really enjoy it. Where you are while reading a novel, what’s happening around you, what emotional state you’re in – these all influence what you’re reading, more than I sometimes realize. Re-reading a novel can give a whole new perspective and appreciation, like when I read Nineteen Eighty-Four last year, and sometimes it can transport you back to how you felt when you first read it, like every time I read The Hobbit.

Anyhoo, it wasn’t for me this time, but maybe next time. Objectively I can see a lot to enjoy in it, but I just wasn’t drawn in. I didn’t really feel for the characters, with the exception of one of two bits. You’ll probably like it, though, particularly if you’ve enjoyed anything by him before.

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