Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
CONCLUSION Gaiman succeeds in holding the reader’s attention with unpredictable and mysterious plot-points.
The great Neil Gaiman. Comic-book enthusiasts know him for his popular series, Sandman. Others know him for his strangely childish and chilling story, Coraline. Gaiman has an extraordinary talent for writing original and memorable stories. His stories aren’t scary so much as they are unsettling. When reading his work, I’m reminded of what it was like to be a child trying to sleep in an unfamiliar, too-dark room while strange shadows danced on the walls.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a re-telling of a narrator’s childhood memory as he revisits his childhood home for a funeral. We learn that when he was a young boy he met a strange and extraordinary little girl living at the end of lane. This girl invited him into her world, a world as old as time and stranger than fiction. Upon the narrator’s return, however, something just as old and much more dangerous follows him back home. This dangerous and powerful entity begins to terrorize his home and family while his parents remain unaware of the disturbing presence surrounding them.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane isn’t a long book, and, like much of Gaiman’s writing, it retains a child-like mysticism while sharing nuggets of wisdom and insight. The themes within this novel are characteristic of Romantic writing (as in Romantic-era, not as in 50 Shades of Bleh). It focuses on the truths of existence that cannot be scientifically explained or quantified. Like the works of Romantic-era authors, Gaiman shines a microscope on the truths to which children are inherently keen, as adults remain blind to the wonder and danger that surrounds them.