I slowly watched the internet explode over this Neil Gaiman book so when I spotted it on the Audible website I quickly added it to my library as soon as my monthly credit came through.
I was not disappointed – as ever Gaiman managed to have a lead character thrown from the ‘real’ world into another world and handled it beautifully. I love that it is not an easy transition, but a human one full of doubt, fear and second-guesses. I don’t know about you, but that’s how I would feel – there would be quite a long time before I could accept what I had been thrown into without suffering the niggling suspicion that I was just going stark raving bonkers. Gaiman pulls this off not only in The Ocean At The End Of The Lane but also in Neverwhere (which was my first Gaiman novel) and is probably one of my favourite traits of his.
I also love his love of word play – he loves his double meanings and puns and these make me inordinately happy pretty much all the time. Neverwhere is packed full of these and I think this is why it is my favourite Gaiman novel.
I have also read The Graveyard Book which is one of his YA novels – I really enjoyed the gentle twist on traditional ghost stories and again the humanity of the characters in the book was what carried me through the story so happily.
I own a copy of Gaiman’s picture book The Wolves In The Walls which I was given by my mum after the school she worked at rejected it for being too scary for the kids – I love it! I agree it is maybe a little too dark for really young readers but for a slightly older audience I think it is great – bringing a whole new element of excitement to picture books and introducing the concept of ‘darker’ fiction to an audience perhaps not strong enough at reading to discover it through novels.
Neil Gaiman’s corroboration with Terry Pratchett Good Omens (recently made into an excellent radio play on Radio 4 – look it up on iPlayer) was just pure joy for me. I have been a fan of Pratchett for years and his humour and Gaiman’s complement each other perfectly, the whole book had me laughing from start to finish as well as making me think about the issues raised within the pages – even if they were hidden in satire.
The next Gaiman book on my radar is Stardust – I loved the movie and I am curious to read the novel that inspired it. I understand that it is quite different to the film but I am still excited to read it – I seem to quite enjoy the mind of Mr Gaiman.