Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.

I've just been sitting two metres away from my laptop just now, on the couch, reading the last pages of this book. Now I'm here. This little 'my thoughts on...' post will be a tad different, I'll be writing (and rating) in a more segmented fashion. Hope you don't mind. I'll give a rating out of 5 for each category and then at the end we'll see what the average turns out to be! But FYI, the rating I've given this novel on Goodreads is 4 stars. :)

Gripping: 3.5
Fairly gripping. 
I thought this category was worth including because it's most important to me when I read a book. 

Characters: 4
Cats are characters too. I really loved the cats (bar Monster). 
(Note: not all the characters are cats. It's just, to me, the cats in this book are particularly note-worthy)

Protagonist: 4
The protagonist is separate from Characters because this protagonist had such a strong voice. There was such depth to him and Neil Gaiman did an excellent job of wearing the shoes of a 7 year old. Although at some points I felt like I couldn't relate to the boy and I though what he did or felt seemed the complete opposite to what I'd have done or felt at age 7, there were many more times when I felt Gaiman got it spot on, when I was like YEAH, that's totally what a seven year old would think.

Plot: 3.5
The story line was interesting enough. It didn't captivate me as immensely as Gaiman's The Graveyard Book had. It was a fantasy novel, but it kind of almost wasn't. It was like it had one foot hovering over the borderline of reality. Which is fine. But the novel was quite mystical in a very mysterious sense. I felt like the story was written very cryptically, and perhaps I would have fallen into it more if things were a little clearer. Mystery is a pro and a con in that sense.  
The plot is framed within the memory of a middle-aged man, and it was lovely to see how the ocean triggered it all. But the memory itself, in the perspective of narrative structure, I felt left something to be desired.

Writing: 4
Neil Gaiman is a master writer. There's nothing much else to add. 
I was glad to see this book was published in the UK, because I didn't have to deal with a British setting and British characters being written in American spelling and grammar. It was one cohesive piece of literature which made me happy indeed. 

Average score: a wobbly 'almost-4' out of 5!
This novel was rather an easy/quick read for me, which is always nice. The book isn't very long and I love the aesthetic feel of the cover. It's soft, like the feeling of microfibre. I'm not sold on the cover image though, the silhouette of the boy in the pond. But it could be worse, I guess. 

If you like good writing and you're after a short, sweet read (with perhaps a slightly creepy twinge thrown in), you might like to pick up The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

No comments: