So, like nearly every other nerd in book-land, I am having trouble containing my excitement for Neil Gaiman’s new adult novel, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, which comes out on June 18th. No one’s let on exactly what the plot is, but I’m happy about that because I want to dive into those pages with no preconceived notions and just let Gaiman do his stuff. Most interviews have been vague enough to drum up interest without spoiling anything, much to my happiness, and I think that Gaiman is very conscious of his huge fan base’s desire to be newly enchanted.
He recently mentioned this Star Tribune review on facebook, and said, “I think this is my favourite review so far. It does not talk about the plot, it talks about the book.” If this review is at all accurate – and I imagine it is – then June 18th needs to be here right freakin’ now!
“Move closer and you’ll notice folkloric grace notes: An unnamed narrator learns the importance of naming, familiar nursery rhymes are reconsidered and made mythic. Magic comes slowly into the story, and it arrives as easily as breathing. When a perfectly sensible character says that she remembers when the moon was made, you will believe her. You won’t actually have a choice.”
—From Startribune.com’s review of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean At The End Of The Lane.
Now I am even more excited to read the book, because what they’ve described is my favorite kind of magic. Small, fatally important rules and traditions which have lived inside of us for centuries: that sort of power impresses me more than any grand summoning of a demon or tempest. If Gaiman has indeed written about a form of magic so naturally inherent to his story that it sneaks up on us without drawing attention to itself (and I’m sure he has because he can do just about anything), then The Ocean At The End Of The Lane might even replace American Gods and Good Omens at the top of my food chain of books.
I guess as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been more desperate to find magic in the real world to keep my hope alive, and that’s why folklore and superstition have been occupying my mind more than “high” fantasy these past few years. The smallest shifts in our world, the secret of my name, the truths other people might be hiding: these have been magical since ancient times and they’re just as magical now. I’m so glad that authors like Jane Yolen and Charles De Lint have kept those stories alive, and unbearably excited that Neil Gaiman has added those elements into his new novel for adults. There is hope where there is magic, and there is magic while Neil Gaiman exists!
Thoughts, anyone? Are you excited about The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, or do you think it’s being over-hyped?
Are you going to see Gaiman at one point on his signing tour for the book? (Did you think I wrote “singing” tour, there, instead of “signing”? He actually has a great voice.)
Do you prefer small-scale magic or big, dramatic fantasy?