“The Ocean At The End Of The Lane” by Neil Gaimann -DNF – not magical for me

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

I know that “The Ocean At The End Of The Lane” is a well-loved book from a well-loved author.I’d hoped to be whisked away into a tale where magic leaks into our day to day lives if we have eyes to see it. I can see that that’s what I was intended to experience but an hour and a half into a nearly six-hour-long book, I just wasn’t feeling it. I gave up.

Life’s to short to read a book because it works for other people.

Still, I was puzzled about why it didn’t work. The basic premise of the book seemed strong enough, a man revisiting the village he was brought up in remembering, for the first time in adulthood, the strange and magical things that had happened to him there. The boy, who prefers the company of books to people, should have been someone I could identify with and the magical realm is well imagined.

I think it comes down to the fact that magic only works if you believe in it and I did not believe in the story I was being told. It seemed to be a slightly smug reminiscence, told in language that strives to be lyrical but doesn’t quite make it and which, in the process, becomes emotionally distant.

I was listening to the audiobook version, read by Neil Gaiman. His narration style is measured to the point of dullness and reinforces the slightly smug, slightly dispassionate feel of the prose. Perhaps the book would have come to life for me if it had been read by someone with more range and more passion.

Click on the SoundCloud link below to form your own impression of Neil Gaiman’s narration.

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