I love Neil Gaiman’s writing. I love it. And The Ocean at the End of the Lane didn’t disappoint (which is impressive considering it’s his first novel in almost a decade). It was a really imaginative journey through yet another wonderful Gaiman universe. As usual, the story dealt heavily with issues of light and dark (i.e. good and evil) in an interesting and complex manner. I was carried along by the plot, which was inventive and surprising in all the right ways. At the same time, I really enjoyed the characters — especially the Hempstock women. They were fascinating and lovable in a I-really-respect-these-characters kind of way.
The novel awoke my sense of curiosity and wonder — something that I’ve been having trouble accessing for several months now. I felt like I did when I was eight years old and discovered for the first time that a novel could be so good that I ended up reading it in a single sitting. It was that intense kind of love that only stories — and only well-told stories, at that — can invoke in a reader. I’ve missed that, and thanks to Neil Gaiman’s wonderful verbal magic, I got to experience it on this beautifully rainy afternoon.
GOOD FOR: Fans of Neil Gaiman’s writing, readers looking for a truly good story, and anyone who’s looking to give fantasy a try.
BAD FOR: People with bad taste in books, those interested in a boring read, and everyone who has so little imagination that they can’t engage with any genre that breaks from “realism” (whatever that is). (As you may have noticed, I love Gaiman so much that I pretty much think everyone should read his work. And I clearly can’t be unbiased here…but this is my blog after all, so I don’t have to be!)