Ocean at the End of the Lane, The

by Neil Gaiman

7/10

A masterful story by a story-telling master and a great quick read that engrosses you right away. It seemed more of a YA novel despite some genuinely terrifying moments (foot-worms, boy-drowners, I’m lookin’ at you), moments that horrified as much as anything I’ve ever read not by Stephen King. I also liked the understated way the fantasy began to creep into the narrative, taking over almost before you know it. The lone kid v. everything else reminded me of the wonderful film “Pan’s Labyrinth,” a modern classic (though much darker). But I like how Gaiman subverts the “Hero’s Journey” trope just enough to keep it fresh — (***SPOILER***) the hero gets saved by a girl! And then causes her death! And then everything he supposedly learns he forgets! Cool!

Too slight for me to really love, and plagued with an unfortunate overabundance of commas. Still it was entertaining and I would recommend it to any fans of modern fantasy, or to those who liked the aforementioned film and/or Hayao Miyazaki animes. I would see a film adaptation which, knowing Hollywood, must be inevitable. I hope Gaiman and Guillermo del Toro know each other.

 

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