The Ocean at The End of The Lane

Excluding graphic novels, my previous Neil Gaiman reads summed up to seven (7). The first was Good Omens, then Neverwhere, Anansi Boys, American Gods, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, and recently Odd & the Frost Giants in December last year (2014). From those previous reads I can compare this novel to Coraline  but here the protagonist is a seven year old boy and the story is less creepy. His characters and his storytelling technique may be using the classic tropes of the modern speculative fiction genre but Gaiman really has this skill of situating his characters in a very unique problem that the only way to get out of it is to be unpredictable. I actually like the Hempstocks here as entities that represent the fabric of time (just my interpretation based also on the nature of the antagonist) as opposed to being witches. One of them actually said it that there are no witches around so I believed her.

The degree of sentimentality with the protagonist's past is comparably less than that of Nobody Owens in the Graveyard Book but still I just love how they mix the real past from the fabricated past just to protect normal people from the truth. The opening scene reminds me also of the opening but funny scene at Anansi Boys. I wanted to see Lettie after what she did but maybe it was intentional and better to put her in future spin off novels or stories.

I wanted to give this book a 4 star rating but I am removing 0.5 of it to remove the Neil Gaiman bias (I am such a fan) and be fair to other authors too. Still, I recommend this book even to non-Gaiman readers out there, if they actually exist.

Memorable passage:
I finally made friends with my father when I entered my twenties. We had so little in common when I was a boy, and I am certain I had been a disappointment to him. He did not ask for a child with a book, off in its own world. He wanted a son who did what he had done: swam and boxed and played rugby, and drove cars at speed with abandon and joy, but that was not what he had wound up with.

Genre: Speculative Fiction, Fantasy
Rating: 3.5 yards of silk out of 5

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