Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

My initial thought after finishing this: Beautiful. 

When I first started reading I wasn't entirely sure if this book would sit well with me. It is the first Neil Gaiman book I've pre-ordered. The first adult fiction book he's published after I fell in love with his words (which was sometime before the Graveyard book came out, which I got for Christmas in a really pretty edition from my aunt who is magical at gifs. Or psychic. Or she just talks to my mother.) for real. After I somehow learned that Gaiman is a writer who writes books. Weird, I have Coraline sitting on a shelf and it's been sitting there for years, and I've read Sandman and you know been generally aware of Gaiman since I was a kid, but it wasn't until 07/08 I really got into him and read most of his fiction. So I was worried I was going to be let down because I've built him up. I wasn't.

This was and wasn't Gaiman as I've know him. The book started off like books do, uncertainly, teaching the reader it's language and I was puzzled for a while, but by page 50 I was so drawn into the story that there was no putting it down until the final page. I read every single word. If books are boring, or parts seem to not be relevant to the overall plot I often read, but don't register much of what's going on. That didn't happen. Gaiman writes beautifully, sometimes his descriptions and observations make me go "this is truth" or feel like I'm having a eureka moment, which is a wonderful thing, or just making the words seem very real. (*coughpage112cough*) I'm expecting to see a lot of quotes from this floating about the web, in pretty fonts and on pretty pictures. 

It was beautiful, and scary and I wish it was longer and not. I also want to tip my hat for his naming skills. Ursula Monkton! Sounds villainy to me.

Not to mention the beautiful name and the cover of my edition. Well, the book underneath the dust jacket as well as the dust jacket (do you even call them that?).

Yes, there are flaws, yes there were parts where I wished someone had edited the language differently, but for the most part I wouldn't change a thing. I think this is a lovely little book and I cried at the end. There's a magic to it, and while the universe is intangible it isn't annoyingly so, not to me anyway (I know others will disagree). This is not my favoirte Gaiman novel (tie between American Gods, Coraline and The Graveyard book!), but I loved it.

Again: Beautiful, I wish I could say something better, but that's all I can come up with.

Best wishes,

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