Valdosta Daily Times

Features

July 11, 2013

Books: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

VALDOSTA — Yes, Neil Gaiman has been busy. He’s written numerous short stories, some comics, a Dr. Who television script, great children’s books such as “The Graveyard Book,” movie adaptations of his books such as “Coraline,” talk of an HBO series based on his novel “American Gods,” and a new “Sandman” comic scheduled for October, but it’s been nearly seven years since “Anansi Boys,” the publication of his last book for adults until now ... In “The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” Gaiman tells the story of a middle-aged man who encounters unexpected memories of three generations of females by the pond of his childhood home. A master of fantasy and an astute observer of history and cultures, Gaiman’s masterwork remains “American Gods,” but in “Ocean’s” relatively scant number of pages, he achieves a story that feels as old as the first stories yet with the revelation that it has just been discovered. Readers can expect magic here both in the book’s content but also within Gaiman’s literary abilities to spin a yarn. He accomplishes Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” feat of capturing the perspective of childhood while retaining the experience of an adult looking back. “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” is worth full immersion.

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