Customer Review

29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing return to adult fiction, 5 July 2013
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This review is from: The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Hardcover)
I was hugely disappointed by what was supposed to be Gaiman's triumphant return to adult literature. I'm an enormous fan, and was greatly looking forward to reading this, however the story, whilst charming, is simplistic, and neither the plot, themes nor characters seem fully developed. It has a superficiality that one expects from a young adult novel (it certainly reads like a book aimed at children) but lacks the complexity one expects from a book for adults. The novel presents themes (nostalgia, childhood, growing up, loss etc.) but never goes any further than merely flagging them to the reader; there is no great exploration, no great description, and as a result the work feels rather empty. The reader plods along with the narrator, but ultimately doesn't really learn anything and the experience is rather hollow. By the end of the novel, I was left wondering what the point was. The length of the novel also sets it at a disadvantage; at only 243 pages, and set in a large, well spaced font with enormous page margins I feel a little short changed (from a content, rather than price, perspective). Plot and character could have easily been developed more, which would have made reading the novel a little less frustrating. It is a very rich world that Gaiman has created, and yet that is never really imparted upon the reader; lack of detail meant I never felt fully immersed in his world, nor fully engaged as a reader.

I so desperately wanted to love this book. I have given it 3/5 as while to my mind it fails as a book for adults, it could make an excellent YA novel, and so a middling score seemed the most fair. For a better look at childhood/nostalgia I'd suggest picking up the fascinating and thoroughly charming Coming Up for Air (Penguin Modern Classics) by George Orwell. If it's magic and myth that you're after, or you want to read something by Gaiman, I'd opt for American Gods over this any day.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Jul 2013 00:00:51 BDT
J. V. Taylor says:
I couldn't have said it better myself- summed up everything I was thinking and I love Neil gaiman's books so I was disappointed

Posted on 28 Jul 2013 13:26:29 BDT
C. Mei says:
Exactly how I felt as well! I think the more one loves past Neil Gaiman work, the more disappointed it is. It is the first Neil Gaiman book that I managed to put down mid-book and only returned to after a week.
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