The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Ocean at the End of the Lane cover

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This month, host Sasha de Buyl is joined by Graphic Scotland's Ariadne Cass-Maran and Scottish Book Trust's own Michael Merillo to discuss Neil Gaiman's latest novel for adults, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. But is this book, about a man who looks back on his childhood haunts and adventures and his friendship with a very unusual girl, really meant for adults, or is it a children's book masquerading as something for the older crowd? The question is a surprisingly complex one, as the novel deals with many dark themes in a fairly delicate manner, while touching on the magic and whimsy of childhood and employing a structure -- two children meet and have fantastical adventures -- that frequently appears in children's fiction.

The novel's audience isn't the only matter up for debate. Other discussions that arise include:

  • Is the narrator too unreliable or too much of an empty vessel to be interesting on his own, or does his emptiness signify something important (and devastating) about him?
  • Did the grim relationship between the narrator and his father hit home and bring up any (less traumatic!) memories from your own childhood?
  • Is the book worthy of the praise that's been heaped upon it since its publication?

Find out what our panel thought, and join the discussion  yourself by leaving your thoughts in the comments below or by tweeting us your thoughts @scottishbktrust or leaving a message on our Facebook page.

Book Talk Extra: Listen to Neil Gaiman discuss the novel, his favourite stop on the Underground and more in our exclusive interview.

BookTalk is produced by Colin Fraser of Culture Laser Productions.


Filed In: Book Talk, Reading Tags: book discussion, book review, novel