The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
“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 Laneis 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”.
Title: “The ocean at the End of the Lane” – author: Neil Gaiman – pages: 181 – published: 2013
Growing up creates many feelings inside of you. It is a whirlwind – an ocean so huge that you cannot control it.
I bought ”The Ocean at the end of the Lane” when I was traveling around England last year in the summer of 2014. I browsed through a charity shop and saw the cover, and I just knew that I had to read it – and I’m glad that I did!
This is not a children’s-book, but it is description of childhood – the good and the bad. It is the story of a man, who travels back to his childhood home, lets himself remember and open up to memories he thought he had forgotten. It is a strange mix of fantasy and realism, and it is written beautifully! I have never read any book like this, so it stays unique in its own way.
“The Ocean at the end of the Lane” truly haunted me. I read it over three days and when I wasn’t awake, I was dreaming about it. Everything about this story intrigued and scared me at the same time. Neil Gaiman has the ability of describing childhood from its best and worst points – the story is honest and frightening, just as it was to grow up and not feel as safe as other children did.
“I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.”
It’s a story about childhood, growing up and suddenly rediscovering memories you thought you had left behind. This book makes you feel extremely alive and make you face the dark sides inside of you – even though, you don’t want to.
“Nothing’s ever the same,” she said. “Be it a second later or a hundred years. It’s always churning and roiling. And people change as much as oceans.”
After finishing this book, I felt oddly relieved because I had the feeling that Neil Gaiman had peeked inside of my head, watched my childhood memories in a long line of strings and then decided to write a book about it. At the same time, I felt sad about letting a part of myself go – but still happy, and most of all, nostalgic. It’s truly a matter of looking back and finding the memories that you treasured, and especially accept the memories that made you lose your breath.