29 September 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman)

I read Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane double-quick two weeks ago, knowing that whoever was next in the library queue had likely been waiting two months with bated breath like I did. Regrettably, since I didn't write it up right away, I shan't review it in much depth--luckily, pretty much of the rest of the Internet will have that covered.

What struck me most, though, is something I said on Tumblr: "It's a kids' book that's too scary for kids. It's as scary as a kids' book would be if a kids' book was real." (Not that Gaiman's actual kids' books aren't scary as heck: how the bloodthirsty eight-year-old I was would have rejoiced over the first page of The Graveyard Book: "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.") In fact, it reminds me a great deal of A Wrinkle in Time or Grimms' folktales, stories that frightened and shaped me as a little girl; like them, Ocean deals with dark worlds bleeding into our own, protection and sacrifice, and a child's dawning realizations about the complex imperfections of the adult world.

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