Author: Neil Gaiman, born in Hampshire, UK, now lives in Minneapolis. He also writes many graphic novels including Black Orchid, Sandman, 1602, Coraline, Creatures of the Night to name a few.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a deceptively simple tale of childhood memories that evolves into mythic proportions. We are left asking, what are memories and how do they shape who we are? It is told with an openness and clarity and we are even reminded in the midst of an intense segment of drama that, he, after all, is only seven years old. An excerpt:
“I’ll apologize,” I told him. “I’ll say sorry. I didn’t mean what I said. She’s not a monster. She’s …she’s pretty.”
He didn’t say anything in response. The bath was full, and he turned the cold tap off.
Then, swiftly, he picked me up. He put his huge hands under my armpits, swung me up with ease, so I felt like I weighed nothing at all. I looked at him, at the intent expression on his face. He had taken off his jacket before he came upstairs. He was wearing a light blue shirt and a maroon paisley tie. He pulled off his watch on its expandable strap, dropped it onto the window ledge.
Then I realized what he was going to do, and I kicked out, and I flailed at him, neither of which actions had any effect of any kind as he plunged me down into the cold water.
I was horrified, but it was initially the horror of something happening against the established order of things. I was fully dressed. That was wrong. I had my sandals on. That was wrong. The bathwater was cold, so cold and so wrong. That was what I thought, initially, as he pushed me into the water, and then he pushed further, pushing my head and shoulders beneath the chilly water, and the horror changed its nature. I though, I’m going to die.