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{September 19, 2019}   {Review} Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

From Goodreads: Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

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This was not for me. The description and cover made me think this was going to be realistic drama surrounding a suicide, with perhaps some magical realism woven throughout, but what I read was very far from that. This short novel (less than 200 pages) is a science-fiction fantasy read, and had I realized that, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up, since that’s not really my taste in books.

The story moves very quickly as the unnamed narrator tells it, and I had a lot more questions than answers in this one. I think the idea behind Lettie Hempstock and her family was extremely intriguing, but because no real information is ever divulged, I found myself frustrated with non-answers. I think I might have enjoyed this more had it been longer and more fleshed out, with more of a cohesive story-line and connections I could follow. Now, if you’re looking for a fast-paced, staccato science fiction read, you might really enjoy this one, so don’t write it off just on my account, but alas, this book was not for me. Two stars.

I purchased this novel from Amazon.

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