I’ve been staring at thie text entry box for this review for days, at various times. Gaiman’s books can be deeply affecting, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane is no different. I’m even having trouble re-reading it to do the review as I am feeling what happens to the young protagonist a bit too deeply.
The book begins in the normal world, with the protagonist, now a grown man, driving around aimlessly until he ends up in the neighborhood he grew up in. His house is gone, but the one next door, where the Hempstock women lived, that’s still there. He begins to remember things long forgotten, a time when his quiet world was nearly torn apart by a dead gem miner, an evil spirit, and it ends with a sacrifice to save him. What makes the book affect me so much, I think, is that the evil is rarely attacking directly. It’s working claws into the hero’s sister, his father, and you feel that much more for him.
The story is classic Gaiman, with children who aren’t children, and the fantastic lurking just at the edge of the real. That he can build a world like this in such a short book (and it’s pretty darn short) is always impressive to me. If any of this sounds like it’d be up your alley, here’s the Amazon link.