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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane > D-d-d-discussion time! (spoilers for the whole book)

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message 1: by Allison (new) - added it

Allison Virtue | 131 comments Mod
Ok! I started this one late but it's finished now, and I really enjoyed it.

All throughout the book I found myself loving certain phrases, the way he used simple words with deep meanings. I'll have to put up a quotes page for this book, it deserves it.

As for the book itself. I have trouble knowing where to start with the discussion because there is so much. The book danced through so many ideas I finished feeling overwhelmed with them. But let's try to break it down into some of the ones that struck me.

Memory, belief, knowledge, self, death. Whoof.

But you know, what I appreciated about all these things is that Gaiman approached them from the mundane and the fantastic. There were moments, for me, that I could easily see happening in my own life. That is, if they hadn't already. Wandering aimlessly only to find out you were heading for a specific location all along. Knowing you have money in the bank, but right now, you don't have any more candy than before. Looking in the mirror, and wondering just who looks back at you. Realizing, that for all they look put together, adults don't really know what they're doing. A pet, dying.

And then there were the fantastic. Not remembering things because your memories had been snipped away like thread. Believing in the closest thing to immortal eleven year olds, but not believing that a pond can be an ocean. Getting a moment to know...everything, but realizing that means loosing yourself. Yourself, dying.

More general thoughts on the book...

The horror in it was really well done. Spooky, but never without hope entirely. Moments of relief, and then realizing that it's not really resolved, there's still more to be done.

The ending left me sad, but in a good way. I wanted more resolution, but it made sense why I didn't get it. More resolution wouldn't have made it a better book.

So, for those of you who have read it...thoughts?

message 2: by Nathaniel (new)

Nathaniel Steffel | 55 comments I finally finished reading this...Last night. Yeah, picking up 20 comic books from the library kind of delays actual book reading.

But! The first of those comic books I read was Neil Gaiman's Books of Magic,, where a young boy is taken through the past, present, other worlds, and future of magic in the DC superhero universe. Why is it noteworthy, aside from being good? Gaiman used a wooden gate to move from mundane to fairy there as well, so it stood out to me in this book.

I *love* books like this, where there's someone/something with so much power they don't have to be afraid of anything the main character encounters. I enjoy stories where there's a button or a call or something to be used when everything goes wrong. So, yeah, I loved the Hempstocks as a concept, and in execution. Friendly, and yet apart.

There are certain norms to be followed with fairy, or other worlds close enough to be the same, and Gaiman is very skilled at using them. The fairy ring. Magic by persuasion and telling things to be. Not eating or accepting gifts. Names. Rules and Honor. Children.

The fairy tale of this book was enjoyable. But, Allison I agree, the mundane story is just as interesting, even as it weaves in and out of the fantastical. There are times where I feel we're getting the story from the main character's perspective, and other times we're getting it as an outsider perspective's, or that of the Hempstocks.

Hmm. I just had a thought. This story could have ended without a happy ending, or even without the ending it had. Looking back, it feels like it was walking closer to the edge and dancing that line than it felt while reading it. It was a tough situation, and it could have gone wrong far too easily. Hard to describe, it's a very subjective feeling.

Also, anybody else love the idea of a field of kittens, ready to be plucked?

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