Thoughts on The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Fantasy Writing

Just finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.

It’s a slight tale in some ways, as it only covers one event, not getting distracted with sub-plots and multiple POVs and all the things we’ve been taught novels need. It’s told in just over 240 pages and is written in such a conversational style that you breeze through the chapters in less time than it takes to tell.

But, at the same time, it’s a huge tale about childhood and loss and magic and memory. It’s the first book in a long time that has actually made my heart ache. Physically ache.

Good fantasy writing strips away the so-called real world we’ve constructed around us, all the pretence and the lies, and reminds us what it’s like to be human. What it’s like to be a child. It forces you to look at your life and relationships with eyes you’ve forgotten how to use. To know when to demand answers and when to leave the questions alone. It is simply magic.

And so is this book.

 

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