Now Neil Gaiman is really making my life difficult.
It’s already enough that you can’t just put your life on hold and read, but we kind of got used to it when they told us we had to go to school.
Then stories like ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ happen and it’s just nerve-wrecking.
When I started the story and I was like: “Hey, this is interesting. So the protagonist is remembering when he was a child. Nice! And there’s a duck pond that is actually an ocean, cool! I’ll keep on reading until it’s inconveniently late, even if tomorrow I will be a zombie at work.”
This is manageable, though, because normally my brain has counter-measures and shuts down after three pages.
Then the little boy gets into trouble. I read two pages, then I closed the book. It was just too much. As the Nameless Boy was trapped in his room, I could barely bring myself to watch the book itself.
Fortunately, daylight came and, after a good 15 minutes meditation to calm my nerves, I managed to get through the tough bit. Only problem was: I actually have a job to go to.
The only reason I almost never got to work late is that I walked. And I learnt to read while walking.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what Neil Gaiman is capable to do.
I’m sorry for my other favourites, like Stephen King, JK Rowling, Terry Pratchett and so on, but Neil is until now the only one who can glue me to a story this way.
‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ is Neil Gaiman at his full potential.
It’s a tale about memory, magic, childhood and adulthood and everything apart from that. It’s about family and it’s about cats.
It’s about an ocean that can fit in a bucket. And a duck pond that is really an ocean.