Neil Gaiman’s: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

Must Read IconJune 18th marked the release of Neil Gaiman’s (author of Coraline , Good Omens, and American Gods, the latter two of which I have reviewed) new novel: The Ocean at the End of the Lane. This novel is the first adult-oriented novel that Gaiman has written since Anasi Boys, his compliment to American Gods. Thankfully, Gaiman has not lost his touch. In fact, his new novel is, in my humble opinion, arguably his most masterful work yet. Following the misadventures of a young boy and his 11-year-old friend, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a  Dark Fantasy novel, that represents a classic coming-of-age story. The boy in the story is never named, though readers will likely find themselves growing attached very quickly, as he serves to demonstrate the innocence of childhood that readers will have likely lost and dearly missed. When he finds that the neighbors at the end of the lane, the Hempstocks, harbor a fantastic and terrifying secret, he and Lettie Hempstock (the youngest member of the Hempstock family) embark on a journey to a place between and beyond worlds, and in the process release an ancient evil upon the English town of Sussex. What follows is a richly imagined, classic-yet-fresh, fable detailing the age-old struggle between childhood innocence and pure evil. Again, the novel is NOT a children’s novel. The story, itself, is quite short, coming in under 200 pages. That being said, Gaiman has been writing this novel for quite some time, and it shows. His prose is simple, yet evokes a sense of wonder and foreboding that is so often absent in modern attempts at crafting fables. Each word the author presents to the readers has obviously been chosen with specific intent in mind, which Gaiman even acknowledges, saying in interviews that he spent an immense amount of time editing and rewriting. It may be short, but The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a masterfully crafted gem that should be picked up by anyone who enjoys dark fantasy, or who simply wish to be introduced to an incredibly engaging, heart-warming, and, at times, frightening coming-of-age story.

Source: Jake Depew, Assistant Editor