The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Book Review
'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' was the first book I've read by Neil Gaiman. It struck me deep and I want to share a bit about it.
It felt like I plunged headfirst into a dream after reading this. The way that he wove fantasy into reality was both mesmerizing and delightful.
It reminded me of 'Kafka on the Shore' (by Haruki Nurakami); where life is inseparable from a dream and there's no need to distinguish one from the other. What's real are our feelings, our imaginations, and our experiences. Those are the things that truly shape our existence. And it doesn't matter where they come from in our lives. What makes a dream less real than waking reality? If I wake up in a cold sweat, I've experienced something, and it'd be a shame to just dismiss it because it was "only a dream".
When it comes to a great book, it's all about the story.
Following along on this narrator's journey, I found myself teleported back to my own youth. My own fears and triumphs came to life again before my eyes. I felt like I was able to relive events of my childhood in ways I hadn't been able to for years. Or perhaps I didn't know how. The memories came to life through the words on the page and I felt so connected to this main character (who has no name, and therefore reads only as "I" or "me").
How deep are the memories of our childhoods buried beneath the surface of our lives? How often do we take the time to reflect upon the memories, thoughts, and perceptions that sculpted our realities today?
The narration style of the novel combined the freewheeling magnitude of a child's imagination with the reflecting touch of an adult. Anyone who's been through a defining period in life and moved into something new will be able to find something in this story. It's a story about the lifetime of a 7 year old. And in my opinion, we live many lifetimes throughout our days on this earth.
I'm left only with a feeling that I've experienced something profound - a moth gently fluttering in my ribcage as I continue to ponder what it all means.
There are guiding lights all along the path of life and I know that when I reach those moments of utter confusion, fear, or despair, there will be a Lettie Hempstock ready in the shadows to take my hand and guide me back, once more, into the ocean of everything - where all knowledge lives and flows and breathes. Where answers take the form of illuminations, bringing to light what was always in front of me in the first place.
I can't recommend this book enough.