Author: Neil Gaiman
Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Narrator: Neil Gaiman
Publication Info: [New York] : Harper Audio, 2013.
Previously read by the same author:
This novel is a mix of fantasy and horror, as a seven-year-old boy’s life is turned upside-down by a supernatural being that invades his home by way of his body taking the form of the superbly creepy Ursula Monkton. Fortunately, the equally mysterious but benevolent Hempstock women live on a farm nearby, and he’s able to go to them for aid. The book is full of mystery and atmosphere, and captures the feel of childhood when new things can be a source of joy and discovery and the familiar can suddenly be horrific. Neil Gaiman’s narration on the audiobook is excellent as his diction and delivery add to the feel of a child experiencing the horror and mystery.
“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.”
“I lay on the bed and lost myself in stories. I liked that. Books were safer than other people anyways.”
“Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences. I was a child, and I knew a dozen different ways of getting out of our property and into the lane, ways that would not involve walking down our drive.”
“Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren’t.”
“Oh, monsters are scared, said Lettie. That’s why they’re monsters.”
“I’m going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
“Different people remember things differently, and you’ll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not.”
Recommended books: Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, and The Boneshaker by Kate Milford.