The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Some authors are a bit like old friends. Maybe don’t talk to for a while, but you really do love them, and then reading something of theirs is a nice remember, an opportunity to get reacquainted. Neil Gaiman is such an important author to who I am today, and what my interests are, but I don’t usually think about him much now days, and I regret that. It’s easy to be distracted by Neil Gaiman who will say things I’m not sure if I agree with, who’s married to a human lightning rod, who’s fallible and not all that magical, and underestimate how much I really do love him as a writer.

This is such a Neil Gaiman book. It’s creepy, and there’s magic around every corner. It’s a story about being a child, and about getting older and losing that sense of wonder. It reminds me of A Wrinkle In Time. It’s been a long time since I read that, but it seems like there are some echoes in the world building, and certainly a shared spirit. It was a captivating story. I started it one evening right before I should have gone to bed, and stayed up far too late. It creates a world that’s vast and scary while still staying focused on an intimate little story. It’s very efficient — there isn’t’ any unnecessary sprawl.

I really enjoyed The Ocean at the End of the Lane for what it is, but it also made me nostalgic for when I read Gaiman when I was younger. The first time I read Coraline I didn’t enjoy it because it was scary. Sandman was the first graphic novel series that I started reading. His sense of fantasy and writerly point of view has been a huge influence on me in ways that I’m not usually conscious of. Remembering why I’ve loved his writing was a real treat.

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