Neil Gaiman: Yeah, he’s alright.
Had you asked me what I thought of Neil Gaiman a few weeks ago, that would have been my response. I’ve read American Gods and Neverwhere and other novels he has penned, and they are good (don’t get me wrong), but they never stirred in me such excitement and fervour that he seems to illicit from many thousands of people across the globe.
One author who does stir such in me is Patrick Rothfuss, and if you know anything about Patrick, is that he idolises Mr. Gaiman. I’ve never understood it.
Until now, maybe.
I picked up ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ more out of a need for something new to read rather than it being the next Neil Gaiman novel, and I had to have it. To say I was pleasantly surprised is somewhat of an understatement. In fact, that I’m here writing this post at this moment shows just how impressed and blown over by this novel I am.
It is a masterpiece. And I don’t say that lightly.
Sure, it has all the odd surreal qualities that I never quite understood from his other books, but it is wrapped up in the absolute beauty, innocence, confusion and frustration that it is to be seven years old.
In essence, this book is a fairytale about a boy, written for adults. Let me say that again, this is not a book for children. I think only those of us old enough to look back at being seven years old as a lifetime ago will truly get the majesty of the prose. I could be wrong, but for me, it is the narrators recollections of being seven that is the true beauty of this tale and not the other-wordly magic and adventure that our protagonist gets caught up in.
It is a short read. Easily a book that can be devoured in a day, and might I suggest you read this book in one sitting for I think it will resonate all the better for doing so.
I read constantly. And in my many years as an avid reader I have read thousands of books. Of them, some are good, some are okay and a few have been downright terrible. Some have been great and a tiny fraction have been immense. The Lord of the Rings, The Name of the Wind, The Stand, The Long Walk, To Kill a Mockingbird, Wuthering Heights, Huckleberry Finn, The Faraway Tree, The Chronicles of Narnia, Conversations with God: All of these are in my all time favourite books that have had an affect on me (at various stages of life and for various different reasons) that goes beyond just reading a good story.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane has made it onto that list. I’m sorry for underestimating you Mr. Gaiman.