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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
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Monthly Read: Urban Fantasy > September 2013--The Ocean at the End of the Lane--SPOILERS

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message 1: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Spoiler thread.


Jalilah As I already said in the other thread, this is without a doubt my favourite Gaiman novel to date. What I did not like in the other novels I read, for instance, American Gods, his emotional detachment from his characters. This is not at all the case in The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Could this be because Gaiman put a lot of himself in the leading character?

Also,does anyone else wonder why Gaiman choose not to name his character?


message 3: by Jalilah (last edited Sep 04, 2013 05:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jalilah I am re-posting this article from the other thread:
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/06/neil...
It confirms what I suspected, that the setting of the Ocean at the end of the Lane is the same lane where Gaiman spent his childhood. There was also a farm at the end of the lane that fired his childhood imagination and he imagined a family named the Hempstocks. Several Hempstocks later showed up in his works Stardust and the Graveyard book.


message 4: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Gaiman's married to Amanda Palmer, a musician and performance artist I find absolutely fascinating. She devotes a blog post to Ocean "and a marriage review:" http://amandapalmer.net/blog/20130618/

She describes the different approaches to their art as a blender, where she sets it on 2 or 3 and Neil dials it up to 10. It's a moving post where she also discusses the effect their being artists has on the relationship.


Katy (kathy_h) I really enjoyed this novel. Gaiman is hit and miss with me, and this one was a hit. It had some really creepy moments. Well written and I didn't know what was coming next.


Jalilah Carol wrote: "Gaiman's married to Amanda Palmer, a musician and performance artist I find absolutely fascinating. She devotes a blog post to Ocean "and a marriage review:" http://amandapalmer.net/blog/20130618/
..."


I think it is here where I read Ocean at the end of the Lane is Gaimans most personal work. I think his wife said it.


message 7: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments I didn't know she was married to him when I first found out about her. The Bloggess had posted one of Amanda's videos that she thought was very inspiring/encouraging when she was feeling depressed, and I ended up trying to find out more about her. She's a very unusual artist and it rather made since they would be a couple.


Jalilah Carol wrote: "I didn't know she was married to him when I first found out about her. The Bloggess had posted one of Amanda's videos that she thought was very inspiring/encouraging when she was feeling depressed,..."

Ha ha she says in her blog, the one you posted the link to, that American Gods didn't do anything or her!


Kimberly Read | 156 comments I'm just starting to read this and it's already made me tear up. Fluffy ... So sad.


message 10: by Jalilah (last edited Sep 16, 2013 04:10AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jalilah Kimberly wrote: "I'm just starting to read this and it's already made me tear up. Fluffy ... So sad."

The kitten, that really was so sad, but the way his parents dealt with it was just horrible. In general, the little boy has such uncaring parents, clueless to what he is feeling. I guess we're everything perfect it might not make such an interesting story.


message 11: by Lucinda (last edited Sep 15, 2013 09:48AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lucinda | 183 comments I finally finished this book. It was not a "hard" read, but it was an emotional one.

There are things that happened in my childhood that are mirrored (surprisingly, eerily) in the story: pet run over by neighbor, unattended birthday party, an escape into books, an abandoned house filled with imaginary people - check. Been there, lived that. At one point the narrator states:

Memories were waiting at the edges of things, beckoning to me


That is what reading the book was like. It was going back to a small, pink bedroom shared with two sisters and using a broom to sweep out all the accumulated junk from under my bed. It was a chore. I do not like chores.

His narrator described this story perfectly: "Adult stories never made sense, and they were slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood." Replace "Adult" with "Neil Gaiman" and now his writing makes sense.

What I *do* like is the way Neil Gaiman presents threads of fairy tales and folk tales from childhood and weaves them, unadorned, throughout his stories. It is Lyric Fantasy, not Epic. And, like so many lyrics, you can ponder out meanings while contemplating how many angels can dance on the point of a needle.

The one truth I take away from this book is:
I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.



message 12: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Lucinda, what a lovely description of your emotional reaction. Your words reminded me of the time I also shared a bedroom with my sister, pastel ruffled bedspreads and pink curtains. Thank you for sharing.


Jalilah Yes, I agree!


Emily | 95 comments Yes! Beautifully stated. I always have such a hard time putting into words why I enjoy Gaiman's work so much, but I think a big part of it is his power to evoke so many different emotions. I never feel manipulated into feeling something-it's more like I'm sharing something with the narrator.


Snarktastic Sonja (snownsew) | 258 comments I started this. It seems very lyrical in nature. Question to those who have read it. Is it depressing? sad? It has that feel to me . . . and while I would like to read it, I really can't handle additional sadness in my life right now.


Lucinda | 183 comments Snarktastic Sonja wrote: "I started this. It seems very lyrical in nature. Question to those who have read it. Is it depressing? sad? It has that feel to me . . . and while I would like to read it, I really can't handle ad..."

The story, itself, is not depressing or sad. But what it dredges up within your own psyche...well, that would depend on what you have buried in there.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) Snarktastic Sonja wrote: "I started this. It seems very lyrical in nature. Question to those who have read it. Is it depressing? sad? It has that feel to me . . . and while I would like to read it, I really can't handle ad..."

I described it as more bittersweet than depressing... but I did cry a bit...


message 18: by Jalilah (last edited Sep 19, 2013 04:08AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jalilah Snarktastic Sonja wrote: "I started this. It seems very lyrical in nature. Question to those who have read it. Is it depressing? sad? It has that feel to me . . . and while I would like to read it, I really can't handle ad..."

Sonja, I would not consider this book to be depressing, not at all. The scenes we are referring to is when the little boy's kitten is run over and another where no one comes to his birthday party. Those parts of the book are in the beginning and are indeed sad, especially if someone actually had this happen to them as a child, but the book is by no means a downer. As Emily put it, it evokes many different emotions. The beginning is a little sad then it turns more into an adventure story, getting a little creepy-scary along the way and the ending is very dream like.


Helen (helenmarylesshankman) Lucinda wrote: "There are things that happened in my childhood that are mirrored (surprisingly, eerily) in the story: pet run over by neighbor, unattended birthday party, an escape into books, an abandoned house filled with imaginary people - check. Been there, lived that."

His comments kept cutting very close to home for me, too, with his casual observations about a certain kind of childhood, inattentive/uncaring parents, or just being different. It seems like he really remembers what it was like to be a kid--a small, powerless, frightened child.

There were many haunting lines in this book, but this quote was my favorite: I make art, sometimes I make true art, and sometimes it fills the empty places in my life. Some of them. Not all.

I only wish it had been a hundred pages longer!


Casceil Helen wrote: "I only wish it had been a hundred pages longer!"

I think the book was the perfect length for the story it told. One thing I liked about the book was was its economy. Everything was there for a reason, served a purpose, and was only as long as needed to be. I disliked the part where Ursula was making our hero's life miserable, but in the end I could see why it was necessary to the story. Learning that the kid was Ursula's gateway home made her actions make sense. The fact that she had a toe-hold in his heart explained why she could always turn up wherever he was.


Helen (helenmarylesshankman) Casceil wrote: "I think the book was the perfect length for the story it told. One thing I liked about the book was was its economy..."

It was beautifully spare and economical, true. But if I love a book, I always want more! I didn't want American Gods to end, either.


Jalilah Casceil wrote: "Helen wrote: "I only wish it had been a hundred pages longer!"

I think the book was the perfect length for the story it told. One thing I liked about the book was was its economy. Everything was..."


I agree that it was the perfect length and that everything it was was there for a reason.There is no meandering, no parts where you have to force yourself through like American Gods. And yes what a creepy way to enter into the boys world through his toe. And yes, Ursula is a baby sitter from Hell!


Helen (helenmarylesshankman) I also loved the device of the unreliable narrator, where you find out that he doesn't know the complete truth himself--which is that he has been back several times over the years--and that he is already forgetting that he was there this time.

I found that the idea that Lettie is back somehow, watching over him, very moving--in the same way that I hope our lost loved ones are somewhere in the ether, watching over us.


message 24: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Thank you, Jalilah, for leading the read and your enthusiasm and ideas! Nice work!


Casceil Yes, thank you, Jalilah. I enjoyed the discussion.


Scott | 8 comments Really enjoyed this book, recently read it myself though a later comer to the group


Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 39 comments OK - also a late comer is me - you guys made this look so good, I put an order on a CD audio version

See ya back here soon


Jalilah Carly wrote: "OK - also a late comer is me - you guys made this look so good, I put an order on a CD audio version

See ya back here soon"


It IS good Carly! As far as I am concerned, it is Gaiman's best to date!


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