Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Book review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The latest all-ages Neil Gaiman book is The Ocean at the End of the Lane, a short fantasy with a dark side a little bit in the vein of Coraline (but without anywhere near as many sinister buttons, so my friend Vanessa needn't have a panic attack at it.) Instead it's a reminiscence of a boy's rural childhood, and a sequence of supernatural threats that are kicked off when the family's lodger commits suicide. The man's death attracts a presence from another realm, and when the boy accompanies a mystical local girl there to try and solve the problem, they only make it worse. There's a creepy au pair and, on the side of good, a trio of witchy women in Gaiman's recurring configuration of maiden, mother and crone. It's a simple enough story but, like the pond that hides an ocean, it opens up the possibility to contemplate greater depths.

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