This past week I read Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane—
I live in awe of Neil Gaiman as an author. That’s despite the fact I am not heavily into much of his work. Mostly this is because I don’t like horror in general. My favorite works of Gaiman’s are more in the line of Neverwhere, American Gods, and Anansi Boys, which is probably some sort of pattern. Oh, and Good Omens, his collaboration with Terry Pratchett, actually made this former Southern Baptist laugh about the Apocalypse, no mean feat. In whatever genre he’s writing, though, the plain fact is that Gaiman is one of the best writers of imaginative literature alive today.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is nothing short of brilliant. It is a short novel revolving around a middle-aged man, who returns to the scene of an epic struggle to save the universe, in which he was a major player at the age of seven. I do not want to say more than that, because in no way, shape or form do I want to spoil this book for anyone.
Gaiman’s writing in this book is some of the most powerful I have read recently. With absolute economy he sets up an epic battle that keeps you turning the pages, wondering what’s going to happen next. He creates, with complete authenticity, the world of a seven year old boy who finds himself thrown into dangers beyond imagination– and then he creates a world beyond our mundane existence as full of wonder as it is horror. I’ve gotten very picky in my old age about what I read, but this book just kept pulling me onward.
This book joins my list of favorites from Gaiman’s works. Highly recommended.