Oh, this book is so wonderful and magical and all other positive words preferably ending in -al. Gaiman evokes a wondrous world without ever needing to resort to cheap carnival tricks. On the surface it’s a story about a man who returns to his childhood home and remembers something strange and terrifying that happened to him when he was seven: nobody came to his birthday party. And that monsters of all kinds can come through doors to our world, that too. Underneath this first layer Gaiman’s fantastical fable is as deep as the ocean in the title. There are a lot of Big and Important themes in this story, from the innocence of childhood and how this relates to being an adult and the way our view of the world shapes our memories to how in the end Death comes for us all, whether you’re a fuzzy kitten waiting for your human friend at the side of a lane or an ancient being from a world unknown. Thanks to Gaiman’s writing style you, the reader, are never slapped around the head with these themes as a lesser writer would have done. Instead, you can only see them from the corners of your eyes, alerting you to their presence so, if you want to, you can silently study them, without them ever overshadowing the central narrative. This book doesn’t deny or hide the fact that our world is a cruel place and being alive in it can be disheartening. If The Ocean at the End of the Lane were a person, she would be the sort of friend who would sit beside you when you’re feeling sad. She would never insult you by saying that “everything will be alright, just cheer up”. Rather, she would take your hand in hers and just sit with you in the shade of an apple tree until the end of days, if necessary. And that’s all anybody ever really needs.
Origineel gepost op mijn GoodReads. In ’t Engels omdat ik doe wat ik wil, ha!