The Ocean at the End of the Lane

By Neil Gaiman

Rating: 4 stars

Despite being told through the eyes of a child, this is very much not a children’s book, with a lot of quite dark imagery and musings on life, death and childhood terror. The central theme, as Gaiman discusses in an interview at the end of the book, is to do with childhood powerlessness. Our nameless protagonist’s world changes when their lodger steals their car, drives it to the end of the lane and commits suicide in it. This leads to him meeting Lettie Hempstock and her family, and gets involved with creatures and forces from beyond the boundaries of creation. But also leads to him getting involved in things he doesn’t and can’t understand or control. Whether it’s his father’s anger or a creature that wants to tear him from reality, it’s about the power of adults over children.

It’s not a long book, but it has some complexity and will benefit from rereading. But for the moment, it’s given me a lot to think about. Gaiman’s on good form with this one.

Book details

ISBN: 9781472200341
Publisher: Headline Review (Hachette)
Year of publication: 2013

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