Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I loved this book. This latest book by Neil Gaiman tells the story of a grown man returning to his childhood home for the first time after many years away. As he looks over the new home that's taken the place of the house where he was a child, a strange series of events comes back to him. These memories take him back to a time and place that he'd forgotten.

As a young boy our narrator is introduced to Lettie Hempstock, her mother and her grandmother who live on the farm at the end of his street in Sussex. Through them he see for the first time the magic that exists in the world around us, the magic that most people will never see. In some cases that's probably a good thing as not everything in this magical view of the world is beautiful or kind. The boy brings a piece of this world back to his home without realizing it and is forced to face the monster.

The pond in Lettie's backyard is so much more than it seems. He doesn't believe her when she tells him it's an ocean. He does learn that she's telling the truth and goes into that ocean himself. The ocean has healing powers and allows him to see everything as it truly is,  though only for a short time. When Lettie puts herself in front of him to protect him from the monsters, her mother and grandmother put her into the ocean knowing that someday it will send her back fully healed.

The man quickly forgets the details of this visit to Lettie's farm and her ocean as he has countless other visits over the years. He goes back to his normal life, never remembering all the magic that surrounds him.

I loved this book. I love the worlds that Gaiman creates and the way he describes them. Nothing is ever completely spelled out or defined in this book, and that's really part of what I like about it. It adds to the magic for me as I'm reading. Not everything can be easily described.

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