The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a small book, but only in terms of the number of pages. Told largely through the voice of a child, the story that Neil Gaiman packs into his first novel for adults since the publication of Anansi Boys in 2005 is complex, but not difficult. It is magical, terrifying, nostalgic, and heartbreaking all at once. The main character (never named) is first introduced to us as a middle-aged man returning to his childhood home for a funeral. When he finds himself driving to the Hempstock farmhouse at the end of his street, memories of his seventh summer come flooding back - the summer he met Lettie Hempstock, an unusual girl utterly convinced that her backyard pond was an ocean.
The narrator is a seven-year-old boy growing up in England in the 1960s. His family has fallen on difficult times, and his parents decide that in order to help make ends meet, they must rent out the boy's bedroom to a series of boarders, and he will have to move into his older sister's bedroom. One particular boarder commits suicide in the family's stolen car, which sets in motion a chain of magical and terrible events which change the lives of everyone involved forever.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fairy tale written for adults, complete with magic and monsters. It could only have been written by Neil Gaiman, and is definitely worth an 8-year wait.
Jessie @ Villard Square