Any other Neil Gaiman fans? The Ocean at the End of the Lane is out next week

(35 Posts)
Dunlurking Wed 12-Jun-13 15:53:04

Who's looking forward to this?

I'm ridiculously excited. It's his first adult book since 2005. There was an extract in the guardian this week www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jun/10/extract-ocean-end-lane-neil-gaiman

My favourite is American Gods, and I think I have all his books that are straight novels, but none of his graphic novels. Should I be trying them? Which would you suggest?

Bearcrumble Tue 02-Jul-13 21:34:26

I'm afraid I was a bit disappointed with it. Tropes he's done before but better - the 'other mother' figure, the triple Goddess, disappeared England, sacrifice - seemed like a mish-mash of his other works with the heart missing.

I loved the Graveyard Book, actually cried when I finished it and have been waiting for this book for ages so I'm really sad I feel as I do about it.

Anyone know what happened to the travel book he was meant to be writing about China?

Dunlurking Thu 04-Jul-13 07:39:29

Wish I could hear him at the Edinburgh book festival envy but we are away on holiday right up North in Scotland the weeks of the festival.

Collected my library copy yesterday and am feeling traumatised by chapter 2 sad Can someone please tell me it isn't all about a child having a sad childhood before I dare read on?

MeanAndMeaslyMiddleAges Sat 06-Jul-13 21:58:02

I love Neil Gaiman but have never been impressed with his novels (although I love Coraline and Dtardust). I love his graphic novels but for me his short stories are the best. I think they are his true medium.

This one I found ok. A bit meh, but still very enjoyable. Agree with poster above, the themes were all things that seemed cobbled together from his other works.

Dunlurking - it is not really sad!

I agree with some of the others on here, it is certainly not the 'wow one of best all times reads' that Neverwhere and American Gods are to me, and yes it draws on previous ideas but don't all authors do that!?

It does also seem a bit more of the (cool and likeable) young adult genre of the Graveyard Book and Coraline, I have told DS (11) he can read it. However I did recently hear Neil Gaiman say that Neverwhere is not something he could write now, so this fairytale/young adult genre seems to be where he is 'at' at the moment.

It was however beautiful and captivating in it's own way. I don't know if others here know but because I stalk follow Neil Gaiman on Facebook I know his very old cat died recently, and as a fellow cat lover I was touched by the cats in the book. I also thought it was a perfectly formed story with some great characters, and the suggestion of magic in the world always stays with me when I am reading Neil Gaiman even when I am not literally reading!

Dunlurking Fri 12-Jul-13 15:00:46

Thanks for that Manatee, I have made it through to the end, but sadly I agree with Bearcrumble . This doesn't have the fun that I associate with his books. Yes Coraline has a child with unhappy experiences but you laugh, the Graveyard Book is beautiful, and imaginative, but this is just bleak and unhappy. I couldn't find any fun, it wasn't beautiful, and any imagination in it was just depressing. I'm sooo disappointed sad Glad it was a library copy. Shan't bother to ask dd or ds if they want to read it either! Hopefully others enjoy it more!

Dunlurking Fri 12-Jul-13 15:05:13

Just occurred to me - Gaiman has always surprised me in his writing - you just couldn't guess where he was going to take you but the ride was fabulous. This time he didn't really surprise me, and I didn't enjoy the ride. I just felt sorry for him as I assumed this was a rehashing of some of his own childhood experiences, which his publisher should have told him was better kept under his bed. <<Ducks for cover and runs>>

That is a shame so many people think that. Definitely less surprises I agree, but I thought there was beauty in the Hempstocks, the ocean (both as an imagined ocean/pond of a child and as an ocean with properties), and the cats.
Thinking about the ocean, and yes it draws on previous tropes like the stories of the gods' arrivals in AG, it would have perhaps been interesting if he had elaborated a bit more on the 'we arrived from the old land across the ocean' and the Hempstock's pasts and memories, that could have made it a bit stronger maybe? The Big Bang is mentioned But just briefly. The present danger faced by them could have maybe been linked with a past that is elaborated on rather than hinted at I guess.

I thought this made sense:

“Gaiman began the novel as a short story to explain himself to his new wife, musician Amanda Palmer, who was away recording an album. But as he wrote, the story took on a life of its own. (and any Gaiman fans must google 'Amanda Palmer Daily Mail video', if you do not know about this already as she is amazing, thread about it on MN smile)
‘I’d get up every day and go, “Well, it’s got to be finished by the end of the week, hasn’t it?” And then the end of the week would happen and I was going, “Well, it’s not a short story, it’s obviously a novelette,” and then I thought, “Well, it’s not a novelette, it must be a novella,” and I did a word count and I went, “Bloody hell, this thing’s 56,000 words, that’s a novel. Not a long novel, but it’s a novel.”’”

Eraser Thu 18-Jul-13 11:42:38

I enjoyed Good Omens and American Gods. The latter being a fantastic read.

SoupDragon Thu 18-Jul-13 11:46:31

Oh, I loved Neverwhere. Living near/in London I loved the whole double meaning of tube stops etc. Fabulous smile

Also have the DVD - didn't enjoy it as much as the book though.

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