Neil Gaiman is a prolific author who has won numerous awards for his work. Although his article “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading, and Daydreaming” is one of the very best things I’ve read on the Internet in the last few years, I had never read any of his books until I picked up this week’s selection, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”. The never-named fiftyish narrator has just delivered the eulogy at a funeral. With time to kill, he drives aimlessly until he arrives at familiar farmhouse with a duck pond. As he sits on a bench looking out on the pond, memories crowd his mind and take him back to the time when he was seven and the Hempstock women – a grandmother, her housewife daughter, and the eleven-year-old granddaughter, Lettie, lived in the farmhouse.
As the day passes he discovers the grandmother and housewife still live there, unchanged. Lettie is still gone, just as she was missing at the end of the adventure he’s gradually remembering. The Hempstocks are guardians, keeping him and our world safe. Gaiman draws the reader into a believable, fantastic world – I couldn’t put this book down until I had read every word.