Have you ever picked up and book and thought…
“This is going to be magical!”
We do it often as children; the first time we read “The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe” or nab the last copy of “The Swiss Family Robinson” from the library. We are open, expectant, and still so full of wonder.
I miss that…the older I get and the more I read. The feeling I used to get when a new book was laid before me. How my eyes would light up, my breath would hitch, and this solid belief I possessed, that if I held that book close enough, or tight enough to my heart I could actually feel the words seeping into my bones. Etching their story into a place of permanence so I would never forget them. I could look at a book and think…
“This is going to be magical.”
And I would truly, honestly, believe it.
Today that feeling was given back to me. Today…my eyes shimmered and my fingers tingled. Because today…I read “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” and my gut was right. It was magical.
For those of you that have read Neil Gaiman’s work in the past, you already know he has a unique way of story telling. I’m not referring to his Gothic undertones (though they were slightly less under and more blatant tones this go round) or even his ability to incorporate childhood fables into the majority of his work. What I’m referring to is his narrative cadence.
I want you to think back to the last book you read. (Go on…this will just take a second. Promise.) When you were reading that story, WHO was relaying it to you? Chances are you HEARD everything from the character themselves. Am I right? This is often the case, and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with it. I’ll be the first to admit I love living vicariously through characters. But this is not the case in Gaiman novels. Instead they read as if someone on the “outside” is reading it TO you. Like grandpa dropped by for a bite, and then decided to stay for an extra hour and tell you a story. They do not “sound like” words on a page, they “sound like” memories.
He accomplishes this is by interrupting his own story.
“The Ocean at the End of the Lane” is (for a lack of better terminology) a flashback. The entire novel revolves around the lead protagonists memories. Because of this (rather engaging choice in plot formats) he is able to tell the story AND converse with the reader at the same time.
But these are all semantics aren’t they? Hiccups in the face of what really matters. They story itself.
And this is where things get complicated. I will NOT tell you about the plot itself; other than to say it was spectacular. I will NOT elaborate on the characters; other than to say they were beautifully developed. I will NOT convey to you my thoughts on the ending, because it is the glue that holds the entire novel together.
Instead I’ll tell you that this book is both enlightening:
It told the truth:
In short, it was everything it should be.
It’s expensive, but spend the money. It’s worth every penny.
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl