open the pages, read the words, savor the magic
Moving on from The Rithmatist, I finally got the chance to read Neil Gaiman’s latest novel The Ocean At The End Of The Lane.
It was a short novel so I didn’t need a long time to finish it. It was such a marvelous read, the story drew me in immediately and completely, and before I knew it I was already finished. Although, I have to say, it definitely begs to be re-read.
I’m at loss how to review it, though. It appears to me that the story is a very personal one to Gaiman and in reading it, something that he wrote by drawing from his own childhood and something that was very close to his heart. The story itself is not a great saga of gods and monsters and it’s also not a quirky little story with children as protagonists, although it definitely has both of them in the narrative. I guess I’ve been reading too much information about the book – the how and why it was written – through various sources so I have the feeling that it’s a very private story for Gaiman. Since I don’t know him and I can’t read his mind, far be it from me to judge whether this is a book of quality or not.
However, I can safely say that I loved it. Like I said, it’s not American Gods. It’s not The Graveyard Book. If any, maybe this is a little closer to Coraline (which I didn’t enjoy very much) because of the strong horror elements, but at the same time it feels like a different animal altogether. I don’t even know how to describe the book without sounding like I’m spouting some philosophical BS. Suffice to say that the story is beautifully written and the plot intricately weaved. I think it might not be as impressive as Gaiman’s other novels but it will definitely please readers who like plenty of layers and not so much of a happy ending in their fairy tales.
To be very honest, I’m not always very impressed with Neil Gaiman. His books aren’t always too my taste. Sometimes I even think he can be very overrated and tries too hard to be witty. I didn’t even finish Anansi Boys (and I don’t think I’ll ever finish it at all.) For now I can count on one hand how many of his novels that I truly enjoy. (Granted, I haven’t read his comics… so there’s still a big chance for me to count my favorite works of his on two hands.) Having said that though, I definitely consider The Ocean At The End Of The Lane as one of my ultimate favorites from Gaiman.