Neil Gaiman nearly made me cry – The Ocean at the End of the Lane


Its been a long wait of seven years since Neil Gaiman’s last adult novel , Anansai Boys. In saying that he hasn’t left his readers with nothing with various short stories , graphic novels and YA novels including the sublime Graveyard Book.

This book has been very hyped due to Gaiman’s popularity and social media presence. Thankfully the hype is more than fair and this gem was worth the wait.

Its a relatively short novel coming in at under 250 compact pages. It’s, therefore, a quick read. The story is beautifully written and the main characters are all superb.

The young boy, who is never named , narrates the story bringing across the hopes and  fears of a seven year old boy. The three  Hemstock women initially struck me as something that could have been pulled straight from American Gods but they are much more than the pale images of mythology in that book.

The story is a simple fairy tale style with very deep reflections on the nature of life, wisdom , fear, sacrifice and change. The story pulls you in from the start, the monsters are suitably terrifying and the finish is beautifully sad and will leave a lasting impression (it will tug at everyones heart strings. As with a lot of Neil’s work his use of mythology and fairytale is perfect.

The book for me was closer to The Graveyard Book than any of Neil’s adult novels and if you took the sex out it would pass as a wonderful YA/all age novel . This is not a criticism as whatever the target audience this book is wonderful and should be read as widely as possible.

Definitely a future classic

About Paul Walsh

I'm a big fan of fantasy and scifi, which would make up most of my reading but will branch out often enough. Favourite authors vary over time but generally include Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Conn Iggulden, Robert Harris, Karen Maitlan, Kate Mosse, Anne Rice, Philip K Dick, Ray Bradbury. John Scalzi, Mark Lawrence, Pat Rothfuss and a host of others. I'm not the harshest reviewer but will note down a few words on all books I read.
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