Well I promised this was coming and I’m only 4 months late (le sigh). After finishing The Ocean at the End of the Lane in September, I am finally giving you a review. Now this was/is my first Neil Gaiman book and it was a great start. Even though I bought Stardust over a year ago, with the intention of reading it, this book just got to me first. I follow Neil Gaiman’s tumblr and twitter so between the two I was pretty bombarded with pre-release advertisement to get relatively excited about this book before it came out. I was also working at a bookstore when this book was released and saw it do fairly well on the shelves, and that’s part of what prompted me to pick it up in the first place. This book is also my first audiobook, I downloaded this for my first credit on Audible and listened to it mostly on my long commutes to and from work. I got through it relatively quickly and found the story very exciting on an otherwise boring drive.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the story of a man, who remains unnamed throughout the whole book, who has returned to his childhood town for a funeral. He takes the opportunity to see where the house he grew up in was and goes to visit his old neighbors. While he is there memories come flooding back from a time when he was young that he had until then completely forgotten. Now I had come into this book with no knowledge of the plot and I don’t want to give away anymore because most of the book takes place in this magical flashback. Even though I had never read any of Neil Gaiman’s works before I knew that he is well known for his fantastical elements and fairy tale-like writing. So when I started listening to this story I was very surprised by how normal it sounded. Happy to say that this story does not miss any chance to be magical while it seems almost natural.
I will say that this story was a joy to listen to. I was pretty invested in it, even getting angry at the characters within the story, but ultimately content with the ending. Like I said, the magic is so natural throughout that it almost feels like this could be real. I really liked how the ending isn’t a nice bow bringing everything together, there are unanswered questions that need time to find the answer and I liked how there seems to be a future to this story after it ends even though its mostly a flashback. Overall, great writing, beautiful story, and I can’t wait to read more of Neil Gaiman’s work.