ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane: Growing Up In A Lovecraft Story

Updated on July 19, 2013

Given my love for Neil Gaiman's writing, it was somewhat inevitable that I would read and review this book. While not having the heft of some of his books, like "American Gods" or "Neverwhere," this book was a delight, a short tale of growing up and accidentally stumbling upon a conflict between Lovecraftian monstrosities.

The frame of story is of a middle-aged man returning to his hometown for his father's funeral. Needing to get away from his relations, he finds himself drifting back to the site of his childhood home, and then down the lane to the last house there, where he finds himself dimly remembering his interactions when he was seven with an eleven year old girl, Lettie Hempstock, who lived there with her mother and grandmother but suddenly had to go away. The rest of the book concerns his memories of that time.

When the narrator was seven, his family had a South African opal miner for a boarder who one day stole their car and used it to commit suicide. This action both brings the attention of the narrator to the strange Hempstock family (who have been living on the land since forever and are certainly not the simple farm folk they appear to be) and also attracts the attention of something else, a creature that wants to give people what they want in extremely dangerous ways. Lettie Hempstock's attempts to deal with it bring new complications, and both the protagonist and perhaps the whole world are put in danger.

I liked how sparing Gaiman was with a lot of the details. We never learn the protagonist's name, and what the Hempstock family actually is is left as a open question, although they are certainly not human. This just made what details Gaiman does give the reader all the more fascinating, such as the period details I suspect he may have pillaged from his own childhood, or the hints he gives at the multiverse that exists beyond human existence.

I also liked how Gaiman has essentially written a Lovecraft story, although admittedly from a somewhat more hopeful point of view. This is a story of a human who stumbles upon entities incredibly alien to human existence, whose motives he cannot begin to understand. Luckily the ones he has the most interaction with are benevolent, unlike in a Lovecraft story, or else this may have been a very different sort of tale.

This is the sort of book that resists a review, unless to say to go out and read it. It is a great and powerful book, and Gaiman is able to pack a lot of punch into only 178 pages. If you're a Gaiman fan or you just want a powerful book to read, go and check it out.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)