Monday, June 23, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Adult Paranormal Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: June 18/2013
Acquired:  Print copy provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.


I want to get this out of the way first, because it literally PAINS me to write this: The Ocean at the End of the Lane was my least favourite Neil Gaiman book. It wasn't the lack of an absolutely mesmerizing narrative, Gaiman never fails to deliver on that front-I just couldn't connect with the story line, as much as my heart yearned to.

A nameless man has returned to his childhood hometown, and finds himself drawn to a specific, and inevitably nostalgic, spot: a pond by the farm house at the end of the lane-a spot that, upon reflection, opens a floodgate of emotional memories. As we enter his childhood, we are met with tragedy, and unexplained magic. A man has committed suicide, and the air is fraught with an unnamed evil. Little Lettie Hempstock is the occupant of the house by the pond, and together with her mother, and grandmother, they become the nameless boy's source for information, comfort, and confusingly brilliant adventure.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a narrative made of dreams, of what can be perceived as a figment of your imagination; of what can actually be unbelievably real. It was a journey into the unreliable realm of childhood-the world seen through the eyes of an imaginative young boy. Unfortunately, I didn't believe it, which led to me not fully enjoying it. I don't have the greatest track record of enjoying such heavily ambiguous story lines, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane was heavy-handed with the literary device. I just wanted to know for 100% certain what was happening-I wanted the main character to be more direct about what he saw, or thought he saw. I felt like this book should have chosen one side and stuck to it: either a book told fully in first-person perspective by the young boy, or one told solely by his adult self. I felt like Gaiman missed the mark with this one, which is a thousand levels of disappointing, because I waited for what felt like A DECADE for this book, and because my heart belongs so completely to Gaiman's other works.

Maybe my expectations were too high, as others seemed to have been completely taken with this narrative, but I couldn't find the magic that The Ocean at the End of the Lane was attempting to coat me with, just couldn't love what it was sharing. I would definitely recommend either reading this book first before you check out any of Gaiman's other work, or read it last, so at least you know what this master of paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi fiction is actually capable of.  

Recommended for fans of: Science Fiction, Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy, Contemporary, Coraline & The Graveyeard Book by Neil Gaiman.


Find out more about Neil on his biography page HERE.

Contact Links


Thank-you to Trish from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to Harper Collins for sending me a print ARC to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts as part of the tour.


Comment love is always appreciated! =)
I will always try my best to comment back!