June 18th, 2013

bubbles and hearts


Work finished later than anticipated, so I ran, and I do mean ran, to Waterstones straight after, and with this muggy weather I arrived in a sweaty, horrible mess just as they were closing. (Hate running; will do anything for books!) They must have seen me coming and taken pity on the crazy person, because they let me collect my copy of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean At The End Of The Lane. As I left I held it up in a kind of triumphant salute to a bookseller waiting to close the shutters...who happened to be the guy I had a long chat with last week (the one from my last post). "Enjoy," he told me, trying not to laugh.

And I did.

I said this on goodreads, and something similar on twitter: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is not a long novel, at just shy of 250 pages, but it contains much more than the sum of its words. Much like a duckpond can be an ocean. There's so much to appreciate, not least the telling of it, and it's one that leaves you feeling so...thinky, and content, and like you've just received answers to questions that are fundamental to you, but you can't put those answers into words and you can't quite recall the questions.

It was written by Neil Gaiman, so of course I was going to love it. I'm biased that way. But I do believe that this is Gaiman at his best, blending thoughts on childhood, growing up, and adulthood in a way that means people will confused as to whether this belongs in the adult of YA section; mixing stories, myths, fantasy, fairytales, memory, history, science, truth, and lies in way that means people will be confused as to what genre this belongs to; telling you a story that feels like a story is meant to be. They weren't adult stories and they weren't children's stories, the narrator says of myths. They were better than that. They just were.

Look forward to this one, savour it, and now you'll have to excuse me, because I need to read it again.