Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
Once in a while, there is a book, one of those that completely transports you and immerses you in another world. One of those books that keeps you nervously glancing at the clock to see how much past your bedtime you have stayed up. I guess for most people this wouldn’t be that book because it’s only 150 pages long. But, I read slowly and it still took me a few evenings to finish.
The story starts out fairly normal, with the author heading to his childhood town for a funeral. When he finds himself at the old Hempstock farm, whose daughter he had vaguely known as a child, things begin to change. He begins to remember little details, like the duck pond behind the barn that Lettie Hempstock had referred to as “the ocean”. And when he remembers the name she had for the pond, he begins to remember everything from that spring when he was seven years old.
It turns out the Hempstock family was not your ordinary family. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but the women of the farm were much more than they appears. Magical, ancient, otherworldly. The young narrator is unwittingly drawn into a fierce conflict when Lettie brings him with her to bind an ancient power (Old Mrs. Hempstock dismissingly refers to it as a “flea”) causing trouble in the village. When the creature hitches a ride into the real world inside the boy’s foot, great trouble ensues.
Almost a children’s book if it wasn’t for some very scary imagery, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a wonderful quick read for a rainy afternoon. And we will have plenty of those soon enough.