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The Ocean at The End of The Lane - Review by Kyle, Teen Blogger

“It all came back and even as it came back I knew it would not be for long: all the things I remembered, sitting on the green bench beside the little pond that Lettie Hempstock had once convinced me was an ocean.”

In The Ocean at the End of the Lane, author Neil Gaiman crafts a tale of weird fiction fit to stand with the classics of that genre. He expertly weaves a deeply personal story of childhood and memory within a sinister tale of evil not from our world. The decidedly stark prose gives it a pleasingly sincere quality, a stylistic choice that perfectly underlines the themes of the book. Though a relatively short read, it doesn’t feel stunted in the slightest, and its pacing is excellent. Particular praise should also be given to the characterization, as it has an unshakeably real quality, even amid the fantastical elements of the story.

In the story, a middle-aged man returns to the town where he grew up for a funeral. While there, he travels to the home of a childhood friend, and experiences the return of long-repressed memories. These memories encompass a series of rather sinister events that had begun many years earlier, when our protagonist was only seven-years-old. The main focus of the book is the protagonist’s first-person narration of his own memories, a technique that gives it a quite personal feel. This, combined with Neil Gaiman’s talent for instilling a sense of mounting dread, makes it, at times, a truly unsettling read.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane received high praise upon release, being named one of the best books of 2013 by both Time Magazine and NPR. It was also named Book of the Year by the Specsavers (British) National Book Awards, and won a Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 2014.

To conclude, I thoroughly enjoyed The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It perfectly blends its compelling characters, strong themes, and ominous atmosphere in a way I have seldom seen in other novels. If this review has peaked your interest, the book is available from Halifax Public Libraries in both novel and ebook formats. I highly recommend it to fans of horror or weird fiction, or anybody looking for a creepy read.

Teen Blogger

[Editor's Note: The Ocean at the End of the Lane can be found in the Library's Adult Fiction collection.]


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