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TonyTalbot

TonyTalbot

3/5: "The Ocean at the end of the Lane", Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman

A man sits beside a pond and remembers when he was seven years old and the pond was an ocean. And his neighbours seemed to be immortal…

This is my second exploration of Gaiman, after Coraline and Other Stories. I was undecided then whether I’d get into Gaiman or whether he’d end up as take-him-or-leave-him writer after my first attempt.

After this, I’m coming down on the or-leave-him side.

There’s nothing wrong here, with Gaiman’s writing or his characters. The story moved along at a nice enough pace, the imagery was adept and skilful. I liked the unreliable nature of the un-named narrator, and the theme of how liquid our young memories are. And I've always liked young narrators in stories, the easy acceptance of the strange things going on around them.

But there was nothing here that made me want to read more Gaiman. None of my internal dials went to eleven. I didn’t hate it; I didn’t love it. It was merely a story, and nothing that would make me want to zero in on his work.

Gaiman for me is the equivalent of mashed potatoes: Bland, easily digested, quickly forgotten, unmemorable.

Having said that, if I read anything more of his, I'll stick to his short stories. I suspect he might be a slowly acquired taste, and that I’ll get used to him.

One day, I might be back.