The Ocean at the End of the Lane is an evocative, and deeply affecting story-within-a-story. A blend of fantasy and reality, it is about a man who returns to his hometown, visits a place he had forgotten existed, and there, recalls his lost memories of a time when he was seven. The volume may seem a bit slim, but do not let appearances fool you. Gaiman's novel is multi-layered and rich with meaning, and the many themes suggested by the narrative will inspire some good conversations.
The prologue and epilogue, set in the English countryside in the present day, frame the main part of the narrative. The first-person narrator is a divorced artist in his late 40s who, as the prologue opens, has returned to his childhood hometown to speak at a funeral. Having some time on his hands, he drives to the site of his old house. When he decides to follow the lane to the end, it begins to ...
Interesting to Note
The story of the suicide in the car is based on an event in Gaiman's childhood - the family car, a mini, was stolen, and the thief committed suicide in it. Gaiman did not remember the occurrence until his father mentioned it to him a few years ago, and he decided to use it in The Ocean at The End of The Lane.
Readers of Gaiman's other works might find Lettie Hempstock's name to be familiar. In The Graveyard Book Liza Hempstock is one of the graveyard's denizens who was killed for being a witch; and in Stardust there is a character named Daisy Hempstock.In January 2011, Gaiman wrote in his journal that he is writing a story about Lettie Hempstock, and that she may be "distantly related" to the two other Hempstocks. No reference is made in The Ocean at The End of The Lane to such a connection, so perhaps he changed his mind, or or ...
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