Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Week 8 - Ocean at the End of the Lane
While this wasn't my first read by Neil Gaiman, Ocean at the End of the Lane felt especially fresh and new from Gaiman's American Gods. I loved the fact that the novel felt completely full and fleshed out even though it was a quick read, and I was able to read it all in one night. For me, it was hard to tell if this was a children's tale or more in the adult realm like American Gods. Perhaps that made it kind of better somehow that you have this adult-narrator telling a rather scary tale of what happened to him as a child. Another interesting thing is how many interesting little thoughts Gaiman is able to weave into the narrative, it's almost like a stream of consciousness or at least as if you were having him sit next to you and read you a bedtime story. It was almost impossible not to hear Gaiman's voice as I read this story, it felt so much as if he were reading it to me. The book was extremely personal but I think something we can all relate to - childhood ostracism, loneliness, "evil" babysitters. There is also something that feels greatly nostalgic about this novel, and I guess I'm not quite sure if this was the way in which Gaiman tells it or just the overall themes themselves. I suppose that's part of the mystery that makes books like this and The Graveyard book so powerful, that they are almost a subgenre in themselves. I think as we become adults it is hard for us to look back at childhood in the same way that Gaiman is able to communicate, but then it becomes so obvious how these memories are almost universal. For me, it was easy to get caught up in the world that Gaiman creates, but then it was also hard to put it down and move on with reality.