Monday, July 21, 2014


The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It's a short book, so it seems only fair to keep this review short.

I like Neil Gaiman, particularly Sandman and American Gods, so I was reasonably excited to see a new novel.  The man has a way with words, and this book was certainly not short on incredibly beautiful, often insightful prose. There is a lot being made about this book being told from a child's perspective, and Gaiman sometimes, as the blurbs on the cover suggest, nails what it is like to be a child. His particular brand of magical realism lends itself to such moments.

But that's just it: it's just more of the same from Gaiman. Here, a disenfranchised character is trapped in a mysterious world of magic and intrigue, just like in American Gods, Coraline, Mirror Mask, and Anasi Boys (I've never read Neverwhere, but I hear it's similar to the above).  Rather than a loner on the end of town, it's a child (which I guess is interesting in it's own right, but hardly new even for Gaiman).  Gaiman is incredibly clever and can write sentences like few others around him, so I was hoping that I might get a different kind of story out of him instead of the same old narrative with different characters and settings.

In short, this feels like a rut. It's a fun rut and a pretty rut, but in the end, a rut is still just a predictable path through which things eventually become banal.

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