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The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013)
Tekijä: Neil Gaiman
» 64 lisää
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this book does well at describing what it is to be a young child who's alone and gets a lot of their life from books, it reminded me of being that age, and it really gets the right sort of voice, i think. and this tied in with the fantasy elements well, i liked how that was done. overall i liked the general feel and themes of the book, i thought it read well, and i liked the ideas behind it. ( )
A fun little book. My first exposure to Gaiman, although I also picked up American Gods, just waiting for it to come. Very enjoyable, and imaginative. I look forward to reading more.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane starts in a fairly mundane fashion. An unnamed middle-aged man at a family funeral drives away from the wake to visit the scene of his childhood. He goes to the farm at the end of the lane, where there is a pond that he and his childhood friend Lettie referred to as an ocean.
From this unremarkable beginning, Gaiman launches into a wildly imaginative tale where our protagonist starts to recall his childhood with more clarity as he sits by the pond. A terrifying encounter with a malign spirit posing as his nanny, ravening carrion birds feasting on spirits and humans alike, and the true nature of Lettie, her family and the pond at the end of the lane.
Gaiman's brief novel is quite scary and tense at times, but is overall quite sweet and elegiac in tone. A very imaginative and enjoyable read.
I've read a few of Neil Gaiman's other works and enjoyed them immensely, although I'll admit that I haven't gotten around to reading [b:American Gods|4407|American Gods (American Gods, #1)|Neil Gaiman|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1258417001s/4407.jpg|1970226] or [b:Anansi Boys|2744|Anansi Boys (American Gods, #2)|Neil Gaiman|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327870211s/2744.jpg|1007964] at the time of this review. In fact, the only book of his marketed to adults that I've read is [b:Stardust|16793|Stardust|Neil Gaiman|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1328433738s/16793.jpg|3166179].
This makes The Ocean at the End of the Lane an odd duck. While it's being marketed as an adult novel, with the exception of a couple of suggestive scenes, it has a very young adult feel to it. Or, if anything, like the kind of young adult novel that gets banned from school libraries in the southern states for those suggestive scenes.
Told through the memories of a middle-aged man remembering the story through the eyes of his 7-year self, The Ocean at the End of the Lane follows him as he befriends Lettie Hempstock and her family, who are...different. Different in that they seem to exist in our world and in others at the same time. When a being from another world/reality begins to meddle in ours, Lettie and the boy set out to stop it, but the adventure leads to worse and even life-threatening problems.
Again, this book is odd in that I'm not sure exactly who Gaiman's target audience really was. Don't get me wrong, it's still a wonderful modern fairytale, but at the same time, there are mixed messages about who this book is for. It feels like a cross between Stardust and [b:The Graveyard Book|2213661|The Graveyard Book|Neil Gaiman|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1303859949s/2213661.jpg|2219449]. Not a bad mix, but still confusing. In that regard, this book has strong literary merit, in potentially reigniting the ongoing debate about what makes a young adult novel different from an adult novel. First, the protagonist is a child, as his is close friend. Secondly, and probably unfairly, it is a sort of fairytale. That, in and of itself, doesn't make a young adult novel, but it does carry a stigma of being for younger readers. However, Gaiman crosses the line to adult novel with sexually suggestive scenes involving the boy's father and the nanny, Ursula Monkton. This is probably a debate that would better be discussed by literary scholars rather just a reviewer, but it is something to consider.
The characters themselves are interesting. While the boy is generally not the most likable of characters and is rather cowardly, he does redeem himself, and more importantly, he's identifiable. His serious flaws actually make him supremely real in a way that most people will likely find themselves identifying with him at some point in their lives. The Hempstocks are a classic mythological archetype, whether you want to consider them the Fates, the Norns, or whatever, but they work well in this way and in their relationship with each other and the world. If I have to fault the characters at all, it's that the parents of the boy come off as supremely unlikable, to put it mildly. The come off as cold and uncaring about the boy. There's not much, if anything, to redeem them, and I would have liked a tad more development on those characters to at least make them less problematic.
It's still a short and charming story, although not as charming as Stardust. It has interesting characters and a wonderful story that's definitely worth taking a look at.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane earns 4 buckets of ocean out of 5.
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 922) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane arouses, and satisfies, the expectations of the skilled reader of fairytales, and stories which draw on fairytales. Fairytales, of course, were not invented for children, and deal ferociously with the grim and the bad and the dangerous. But they promise a kind of resolution, and Gaiman keeps this promise.
[Gaiman's] mind is a dark fathomless ocean, and every time I sink into it, this world fades, replaced by one far more terrible and beautiful in which I will happily drown.
The story is tightly plotted and exciting. Reading it feels a lot like diving into an extremely smart, morally ambiguous fairy tale. And indeed, Gaiman's adult protagonist observes at one point that fairy tales aren't for kids or grownups — they're just stories. In Gaiman's version of the fairy tale, his protagonist's adult and child perspectives are interwoven seamlessly, giving us a sense of how he experienced his past at that time, as well as how it affected him for the rest of his life.
Reading Gaiman's new novel, his first for adults since 2005's The Anansi Boys, is like listening to that rare friend whose dreams you actually want to hear about at breakfast. The narrator, an unnamed Brit, has returned to his hometown for a funeral. Drawn to a farm he dimly recalls from his youth, he's flooded with strange memories: of a suicide, the malign forces it unleashed and the three otherworldly females who helped him survive a terrifying odyssey. Gaiman's at his fantasy-master best here—the struggle between a boy and a shape-shifter with "rotting-cloth eyes" moves at a speedy, chilling clip. What distinguishes the book, though, is its evocation of the powerlessness and wonder of childhood, a time when magic seems as likely as any other answer and good stories help us through. "Why didn't adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and ... dangerous fairies?" the hero wonders. Sometimes, they do.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (2)
It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)823.914Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Modern Period 1901-1999 1945-1999
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