Wednesday, December 11, 2013
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE
The Ocean At the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman, is magical. The writing is magical; the story that it tells is magical; and, the ocean at the end of the lane is magical. We learn of a seven year old boy who sees the magical; he believes and accepts the magical. We learn of his magical adventure with Lettie, an eleven year old girl who lives nearby at the Hempstock farm (which, by the way, is also magical).
The boy returns to the Hempstock farm as a divorced man with grown kids, and he has difficulty comprehending the magical. As he looks at the duck pond – “It was only a duck pond, out at the back of the farm” – he recalled that “Lettie had had a funny name for it. I remembered that. ‘She called it the sea. Something like that.’”
The man did not remember. He did not even know why he had come there. “’Lettie wanted you to,’ said somebody.” He looked to Lettie’s mother to help him remember. Or, was that Lettie’s grandmother?
The ocean – or, rather, the duck pond – demonstrates how children are amenable to the magical. Their magical insight, however, diminishes with age.
Gaiman’s book does a great job of depicting these disparate ways of considering the magical. It is eye-opening. A wonderful read. It is, quite simply, magical!