Monday, September 23, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane  by Neil Gaiman

An unnamed adult narrator has returned to his Sussex hometown for a funeral, and afterwards drives around randomly...until he arrives at the home of his childhood neighbors. There, he is welcomed in by an elderly woman he recognizes, and he gradually remembers the events that occurred just after his 7th birthday, when he was drawn into a terrible adventure with weird creatures and splendid magic.

This is the author's first adult book since Anansi Boys (2005), and his storytelling skills have grown ever-stronger in the meantime.  Mythology, folklore, and motifs drawn from heroic tradition are seamlessly bound together to create a fabulous, eerie story that is familiar and yet completely fresh.   

Gaiman skillfully treads the line between "terror" and "creepy."  Although this reader is a self-acclaimed chicken-pants, I found The Ocean at the End of the Lane deliciously nightmarish without ever becoming gross; hair-raising but not horrible.  Still, very young and very timid readers are warned:  this story is scary.  

The audiobook read by the author is even better than the print version.  A word of caution: perhaps you should not listen to it while driving home alone in the dark.  (Ask me how I know.)

Recommended for brave readers and listeners, ages 14 to adult.  Minimal cussing, some sexual situations between adult characters, some blood and plenty of scary stuff.

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