It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive. There is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.
His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac – as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly’s wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark.
This is the kind of book anyone who was deeply affected by their childhood’s memories will understand. I don’t believe it’s easy or straightforward. It is a fantasy book, yes, but also a strange sort of memoir. The main character is trying to remember his childhood and some of the most important moments of his life. What we are left with is his perspective of what happened in those moments. I said ‘his perspective’ because, after all, “Different people remember things differently, and you’ll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not.”
This is a stunning collection of short stories by acclaimed fantasy writer Neil Gaiman. His distinctive genius has been championed by writers as diverse as Norman Mailer and Stephen King. With The Sandman Neil Gaiman created one of the most sophisticated, intelligent, and influential graphic novel series of our time. Now after the recent success of his latest novel Anansi Boys, Gaiman has produced Fragile Things, his second collection of short fiction. These stories will dazzle your senses, haunt your imagination, and move you to the very depths of your soul. This extraordinary compilation reveals one of the world’s most gifted storytellers at the height of his powers.
At the end of the introduction of his book, Neil Gaiman says:
“Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds’ eggs and human hearts and dreams, are also fragile things, made up of nothing stronger or more lasting than twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks. Or they are words on the air, composed of sounds and ideas – abstract, invisible, gone once they’ve been spoken and what could be more frail than that? But some stories, small, simples ones about setting out on adventures or people doing wonders, tales of miracles and monsters, have outlasted all the people who told them, and some of them have outlasted the lands in which they were created.”
The stories in this collection are not fragile. They are strange ones, tales of monsters who are sometimes just human, of nightmares and many different types of horrors. There is nothing frail about fears or adventures. Neil Gaiman’s stories are strong because they sound true and there are very few things stronger than truth.