Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Author:  Neil Gaiman
Year: 2012
Publisher:  Harper Audio
Narrator:  Neil Gaiman

Goodreads Summary:
Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

More than once, I've stated that Neil Gaiman is a master storyteller. In my opinion, he's one of the top storytellers of our time (and maybe the best).  The Ocean at the End of the Lane continues that tradition of slightly off-kilter stories where magical, unexplainable things happen to ordinary people. When Gaiman tells the story, I don't doubt anything for a single second. It all seems totally believable - especially when I'm listening to the audiobook and it's coming from his quiet, English accented voice. The Ocean at the End of the Lane has some disquieting parts in them and it's those things that make the story believable. Yes, go buy the book. But I highly recommend the audiobook because when you listen to Gaiman tell a story, magic happens.

On the same note, my friends and I went to see Neil Gaiman in Decatur. We spent hours sitting outside in a blazing hot parking lot waiting but every minute was worth it. His talk was hilarious. I laughed so hard I cried. Plus, I got a snazzy autograph.  Here's a couple of pictures:

Yes, that's a bra being signed in the second picture. 


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