The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is an enchanting, almostly adult fairy tale that totally gripped me from start to finish. I listened to the audio narrated by Neil himself and its absolutely fantastic, I was literally hanging on every word and it’s very easy to disappear from life and immerse yourself in his narration.
Now my exposure to Neil Gaiman has been fleeting, I read his novel American Gods a good few years ago and The Sandman graphic novel series more recently but listening to The Ocean and Neverwhere in the past couple of weeks has invigorated a profound appreciation of his work and set me on a bit of a Gaiman quest. I'll be reading and listening to a lot more from Neil himself over the next few months and adding him to my top 5 authors, I think he definitely deserves it.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a man's recollection of a fantastical and breathtakingly engrossing story from his childhood memories. Our nameless narrator, avoiding a funeral finds himself at a house that plays on the fringes of his conscious and when he is invited to sit overlooking the water, wondrous and terrifying memories surface and at the heart of it a girl named Lettie Hempstock.
It's a story set in our world but with a little extra magical spice, add to that a young boy suffering at the hands of a beautiful but monstrous nanny and his only refuge being Lettie, the youngest of three generations of woman living on a farm close by. There's a world that exists outside the knowledge of the many and its left to the few to guard against wayward spirits and demons, there's always a cost though.
Gaiman teases a beautiful and exquisite tale, the audio adds significantly more of his vision, a precious whisper to be absorbed and coveted, something that you would love to hear again and again.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is simply magical.