Saturday, July 13, 2013

The ocean at the end of the lane

When the narrator attends a funeral near where he spent his childhood he decides to drive back to where the house in which he lived used to be and then continues driving to the end of the lane. Stopping near an old farmhouse memories from his childhood return and gradually he remembers episodes that may have occurred when he was a lonely boy of seven who escaped from problems by reading adventure stories. In Neil Gaiman's short novel the narrator, more than forty years later, tries to explain and rationalise the reality of a lonely childhood merging with a world of fantasy and danger.

It was after a lodger committed suicide in his parents' car at the end of the lane that the narrator meets Lettie, her mother and grandmother and the boundaries between his known world and a distant world, maybe going back to the beginning of time, begin to merge. On the second visit to the farm he and Lettie set off to confront an unknown being and from that time onwards the narrator realises that an evil presence has gained entry to his world and that his life is in danger. Confronting evil is only one part of the story. It also explores how external influences may threaten family relationships. The book is also about memory and questions what we actually remember and what we think we remember (or forget) from childhood and other times in our lives.

This, perhaps, is another book that is best read in one sitting allowing the reader to become totally immersed in the world of fantasy created in the novel.and its possible impact on daily life and the fears of a child.

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