Friday, August 30, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I just finished Neil Gaiman's new novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and find myself on the edge of tears. It's not a sad novel, not really, but there's something so very melancholy about it, about reflecting on the past, and the decisions people make, and the things they forget, and the other people who make them who they are.

It's not swords and sorcery, but as pure a fantasy as you might ever read, more akin to Stardust than American Gods, though it is set in the here-and-now (and the then-and-there). The Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone make appearances, and are both mundane and magical in surprising ways. Mostly, though, it's just a story about a little boy, and his brush with the infinite, with a cursory glance toward the man he's still becoming. That said, I shan't spoil it with details; I'm still working through them, myself. This is a book that has invisible pages, if you know what I mean, and I'm still looking for the word, the line, the way (with apologies to Mr. Bukowski). I love it when a book does that to me.

I recommend it to you without reservation. It's a very short book, but perfect in length, nonetheless. Mr. Martin, you could probably learn something about that from Mr. Gaiman, I think.

I've been reading a few other things, as well, and I'll be reporting on them soon.