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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
I was lucky to hear a reading from this book when I saw Neil last week. It was beautiful and brilliant and eerie and if audiobooks are your thing I highly recommend getting your hands on that version.
Ocean at the End of the Lane is all at once ethereal and horrifying- a perfect mix of the mundane and the macabre, folklore and daily life woven together in ways that it make it seem that one cannot possibly survive without the other. And that is exactly as it should be. It is the story of a bookish boy who ends up walking a fine line between both worlds, seeing both the beautiful and the terrifying.
It is told from the point of view first of a man who remembers a childhood long past, and then a child caught in a nightmare. Finally an adult thinking back on that nightmare he had forgotten. It is a book about the world of adults, and the worlds of children. Leaving the hall light on at night to keep the monsters at bay, listening to parents talking as you drift off to sleep to feel safe.
It is, honestly, one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I am going to be digesting it for some time now, working through all of the little bits, the feelings and the thoughts it urged me, ever so quietly, to contemplate. It is not intentionally poetic, but it is a book that will call to the dreams, the ones who stayed up past their bed times with books, who found fairly rings as children. The ones who, maybe, imagined that a pond at the end of a lane could be an ocean as old as existence itself.
It is a book for adults, it is also a book for children. For parents to read with their kids, for kids to recommend to their parents. I will be rereading. Highly recommended.