Many authors can write a good book, with believable characters and a well-developed plot. But only some are true storytellers, possessing the ability to create such a tangible world that I become lost in it, oblivious to my surroundings. Neil Gaiman is the latter sort of artist, and his The Ocean at the End of the Lane enchanted me from the start.
A man, back in his childhood town to attend a funeral, takes a seemingly aimless drive to clear his head before attending the reception. To his surprise, he finds himself stopped in front of a farmhouse at the end of a lane; it's where a friend of his from 40 years ago lived.
When he greets Lettie Hempstock's elderly mother, she encourages him to take a walk to the duck pond, the one he used to call an ocean. Sitting on a bench, he suddenly remembers a series of astonishing events that took place when he was seven and Lettie, eleven.
That's all I'm going to say about the plot of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It's a magical book about childhood, love, friendship, and sacrifice. It's about the nature of memory and about the possibility of knowing everything and of choosing not to. But it's also just a wonderful tale; and, although it can be scary, you'll wish there were an ocean at the end of your lane. Maybe there is.
Do not miss Neil Gaiman reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Perhaps the best audiobook of the year (Harper Audio; 5 hr, 48 min). Here's a taste:
This post will be linked to Kid Konnection, hosted by Julie at Booking Mama.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
HarperCollins / William Morrow, 2013
Source: Review (both print and audio) (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).