Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Synopsis according to 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.
"


The Ocean at the End of the Lane is yet another Neil Gaiman dark fairytale contemporary novel. This man does it well, and it's why we love him. So what can I tell you about it that you haven't already guessed? It's charming and eerie, mysterious and magical, frightening as hell and immersive.


I'm labeling it horror in addition to dark fairytale, because a few of the scenes actually caused me physical distress. Not because they're gory, but because Gaiman is SO good at slipping you into the shoes of the protagonist, and feeling  like a powerless 7 year old made things so, so terribly scary.
(the worm scene? *shudder*)


Also, I listened to the audiobook of this, which was narrated by the fantastic Mr. Gaiman himself. If you didn't know, he has a voice like Alan Rickman's- that amazing British purr that could read the phone book and would sound enchanting.


I highly recommend it for fans of Gaiman's previous work, dark fairytale-type contemporaries, old magic of that mysterious fae-like quality, nostalgia, and sensory-explored, character-driven stories that feel like truth.


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