An Englishman returns to his childhood home for a funeral, and is reminded of the farm at the end of the street. He was seven years old when he first visited that farm and met a girl named Lettie Hempstock, who protected him from the terrifying, mystical events he recounts now, forty years later.
Wait…did I just read a fantasy novel? And love it?! Fantasy is the one genre I’ve always wanted to enjoy, but 99.9% of the time, I find I just can’t stomach it. I would say this felt more like literary fiction and magical realism, but the elements of fantasy are absolutely there. No denying it.
This novella is my first Neil Gaiman read. I now understand why so many people are enthusiastic about his writing! It is ravishing. His sentences swept me away, and I was completely lost in the story from beginning to end. Impeccable pacing: Gaiman knows just when to crank up the tension, just when to give the reader a reprieve. Master storyteller, indeed.
Phenomenal read. I especially recommend The Ocean at the End of the Lane to anyone else who enjoys magical realism, but is on the fence about fantasy.
I want to read more fantasy novels like this. Give me your suggestions! Is there another Gaiman title I shouldn’t miss?