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08 November 2013

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

I was sad to put the book down.  I even forgot my tea. Neil Gaiman is improving in his art.

Sometimes books have no beginning, middle or end.  Well, obviously they do... after all  most books are not infinite or worse, 'War and Peace'.  But sometimes books, their authors and by that mysterious alchemy called imagination, readers tap into an on-going story.  'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' is such a book.  It catches a paragraph or two of a much greater story about humanity, belief, faith, love, temptation and nightmares.  In fact, it captures a glimpse of the creation of humanity... we all suspect we are only half baked anyway; we are still in the process of becoming.

'Boneland' by Alan Garner is also such a book.  In fact, I felt 'Boneland' is the male counterpart of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane'.  Neil Gaiman tapped into a feminine side of the great story that is us.  The Hempstock women superficially represent the well known aspects of the feminine archetype, the hag (grandmother), the mother and the virgin (daughter).  On a deeper level, they point the way to, and protect us from, different realities.  They even protect us from ourselves.

I am a little afraid of the Hempstock ladies.  I sense real power there and finite patience.  I should mention that they feel familiar, which is probably why they frighten me a little.  I am certain I met them before, maybe in books or maybe in person.  I can even tell you what I think they smell like, so yes they feel real.  I was sad to put the book down.  I even forgot my tea.  I had to say goodbye to them like the protagonist.  And like the protagonist, my memory has faded... I know they are out there somewhere when a book like this reminds me of my own story.  Reading this book is like going home.  Neil Gaiman is improving in his art.

Neil Gaiman 
ISBN: 9781472200310 

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