I recently watched the series Good Omens (currently on order at the library - put on hold now!) an adaption of Neil Gaiman’sopens a new window and Terry Pratchett’s novel of the same name, and this was so delightful that I searched for more of Gaiman’s work that I had not already read.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one that I had missed, and I am so glad I sought it out. This is a fairy-tale in the true nature of fairy-tales – ones that challenge your world view, put frissons of fear in the reader and will appeal to adults and children alike. This is also a novel of remembering and forgetting. The central character is a seven-year-old boy who knows things about the adults around him that he cannot say. It is also a story of friendships between creatures of difference and what it takes to protect your friends in a world of magic, aliens, dangerous beings and strange otherworldly experiences. Nothing is as it seems and only the boy can see the wrongness that endangers his family and directly threatens him. There are so many worldly commentaries that I found in this mystical, dark fairy-tale – protecting our earth, the nature of beauty, the challenge of friendships across a cultural (and in this case ‘species’) divide and the consequences of disobedience to the natural laws.
Be prepared to be mystified, challenged, laughing, and totally immersed in a seven-year-old’s adventure as he copes with the bad, the dangerous, and the unnatural with courage and determination. I am a total Neil Gaiman fan and recommend all his works to you. This is a novel told through a child’s eyes but definitely one that appealed to me as an adult reading it. Possibly because of the delicious, dark and grim fairy-tale feel.