The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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I am on the waiting list for American Gods at my library so in the meantime I picked this up.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but this was a fantastical read, along the line of magical realism.  The story begins with a man returning to his childhood home for  a funeral.  He finds himself driving to the home of a childhood friend who has emigrated to Australia, as far as he knows.  Once he arrives at her home and walks along the path to the “ocean”,  his memories return of the events of his childhood, both the fantastical and the horrifying.  ‘

The book explores the major theme of memory and how memory shapes us and impacts our life.  Also, how memories are made and kept.  Other themes include fear, represented by both Ursula and the hunger birds.  Loneliness and isolation shown by the birthday party and the location of the home.  The kittens represent the innocence of childhood and the innocence lost to the narrator through the events of the book.  Wisdom and time are also explored within a supernatural and multi-dimensional context.

Magical realism/fantasy is not my usual genre but I did enjoy this and it has definitely piqued my interest in American Gods.

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