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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

In Gaiman’s first novel for adults since Anansi Boys (2005), the never-named fiftyish narrator is back in his childhood homeland, rural Sussex, England, where he’s just delivered the eulogy at a funeral. With “an hour or so to kill” afterward, he drives about—aimlessly, he thinks—until he’s at the crucible of his consciousness: a farmhouse with a duck pond. There, when he was seven, lived the Hempstocks, a crone, a housewife, and an 11-year-old girl, who said they were grandmother, mother, and daughter. Now, he finds the crone and, eventually, the housewife—the same ones, unchanged—while the girl is still gone, just as she was at the end of the childhood adventure he recalls in a reverie that lasts all afternoon. He remembers how he became the vector for a malign force attempting to invade and waste our world. The three Hempstocks are guardians, from time almost immemorial, situated to block such forces and, should that fail, fight them. Gaiman mines mythological typology—the three-fold goddess, the water of life (the pond, actually an ocean)—and his own childhood milieu to build the cosmology and the theater of a story he tells more gracefully than any he’s told since Stardust (1999). And don’t worry about that “for adults” designation: it’s a matter of tone. This lovely yarn is good for anyone who can read it

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  • Elena De La P.

    I loved this little book full of metaphysical, seven-year-old boy perspectives. There's a little evil, a little love, some manipulation. Someone during discussion thought the three women could represent the Christian Trinity. I added that water is usually associated with spirituality. Very good discussion, lots of fun. And lots of tips about other good reads.

    1 · January 6, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi, do you usually eat when you meet up to discuss the book?

    January 5, 2014

    • Nancy K.

      Most of us do. A few folks just have a drink. It's up to you.

      1 · January 5, 2014

  • Jennifer

    Hi, I'm Jennifer and new to the group. I know exactly where this bar is, it's really close by, but I don't get off work till 10 that night! Bummer. Maybe I'll catch the next one. I'm not reading the current book anyways.

    January 4, 2014

  • Gariety P.

    I just joined this group and sadly I do not think I will be able to read this book by the 6th, I have a family birthday party this weekend and I am traveling, but I would like to attend the next meeting, so I will be looking forward to the next book.

    1 · December 31, 2013

    • Elena De La P.

      It's a short novel, just 178 pages long. I am enjoying it very much. Fast read, too.

      1 · December 31, 2013

    • Nancy K.

      It is fast. And interesting.

      January 1, 2014

  • Cindy A.

    Happy New Year! This was a favorite read from 2013. I just finished the audio version a few days ago. Neil Gaimen reads - absolutely fantastic!

    1 · January 1, 2014

  • Elena De La P.

    Getting started tonight. I do like Gaiman's style.

    December 29, 2013

  • Steven S.

    If I get a chance to read the book before the 6th I'd like to go. In the missle of "First phone call from heaven" now.

    1 · December 29, 2013

  • Scott

    Interesting reading! A fast read.

    December 21, 2013

  • Nancy K.

    We look forward to hearing your thoughts as well. I haven't started this one yet.

    November 19, 2013

  • Sarah B.

    I enjoyed this book, but have a few questions and comments for the group. Looking forward to discussing it.

    November 18, 2013

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