“The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow, 2013)

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
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In the first novel from bestseller Neil Gaiman since 2005’s Anansi Boys, he creates a magic tale that straddles between a short story and novella that feels like a wonderful fairytale, possessing the magic and feel of The Graveyard Book with the wonder and beauty of Stardust. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is for adults what The Graveyard Book was for kids and teens; though both can be read and enjoyed by anyone ages 5 to 95. Gaiman wrote this as a gift and semi-biographical explanation to his wife; if this is your first Neil Gaiman book, it’s a great place to start.

The story centers around a seven year-old boy who is an unusual and eccentric and misunderstood by his parents, especially his father, but discovers down the road some neighbors – a girl, her mother and grandmother – who aren’t the sweet ladies they appear, but part of something immortal that has been around for a very long time. Soon he is whisked away on an unforgettable journey to take care of a little problem and ends up bringing something alien back into this world, and then everything starts to go wrong.

The story is sweet and small, but also large and complex; it feels too short to be told fully, but by the end the reader is left feeling satisfied and complete. It is classic Gaiman, mixing his unique blend of fairytale and mythology with real emotions and life choices that stick with the reader long after they have finished the book. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is an innocent-looking little story that soon sucks you in and shows its claws as well as its soft, warm spots; leaving you left full of thought and wonder.

Originally written on July 30, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

You might also like . . .

American Gods  Graveyard Book  Stardust

Halloween Recommended Reads

We’re coming up on Halloween once again when everything goes spooky and dark, and we like to get scared by things.. Well, here’s a Halloween story I wrote and a list of recommended reads for kids and adults of books that will really give you some shivers . . .

Click on the image below to read the free Halloween Story

A Halloween Story

 

And now some recommended Halloween reads to chill your bones and make your blood freeze . . .

FOR KIDS (OR ADULTS) –

Among the Ghosts Coraline The Graveyard Book

Halloween Tree Rot and Ruin

FOR ADULTS –

Neverland I am Not a Serial Killer Feed Horns
Death Troopers
The Strain The Terror The Living Dead
Living Dead 2
World War Z Full Dark No Stars Handling the Undead
Illustrated Man Handling the Undead Handling the Undead Handling the Undead

BookBanter Boon #11: “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman 10th Anniversary Author’s Preferred Edition SIGNED Giveaway!

American Gods SIGNED Edition

American Gods

BookBanter Boon #11 is another special one (but then aren’t they all, since there’s a free book in it for one lucky person!).  This one is for a hardcover finished copy of the new “author’s preferred edition” from Neil Gaiman of American Gods, and it just so happens to be autographed by the great author himself too.  Not too, shabby.  And since it’s so special, I’ll be running this giveaway through the whole month of August.

Here are the basic rules:

  1. Anyone in the US can enter.
  2. To enter simply leave a comment on this post.  The question for you for this BookBanter Boon is what’s the first thing of Neil Gaiman’s that you read, and how did you find out about it?
  3. Entries will be accepted from August 3rd until August 31st, 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time .
  4. The winner will be randomly chosen, contacted, and announced on this post on September 1st.

Be sure to either subscribe to the BookBanter Blog, or like the BookBanter Page on Facebook (or both) to get all the updates on BookBanter.

If you have any questions, please email me at alex@bookbanter.net.

And finally, here’s proof this autographed copy:

signed

06/29 On the Bookshelf . . . “7th Sigma” & “American Gods: Author’s Preferred Edition”

    7th Sigma    American Gods

A captivating cover and I’m just a sucker for anything cool sounding to do with time travel.  So looking forward to this from Steven Gould.

Also received a review copy of the new tenth anniversary edition of American Gods by Neil Gaiman, referred to as the “author’s preferred text.”  It was ten years ago that I first discovered Neil Gaiman with this book, and I still have that first edition, and published my review in February 2002.  And then when I opened the book, discovered this thrilling surprise . . .

Neil Gaiman 1

Neil Gaiman 2

“Coraline” by Neil Gaiman, with illustrations by Dave McKean (HarperCollins, 2002)

Coraline
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Even though rising-to-fame author Neil Gaiman won the American Library Association’s Alex Award as one of 2000’s top ten adult novels for young adults for the novel Stardust, it has still been a while since Gaiman addressed the young adult’s literature corner, still riding on the success of his recent tome, American Gods.  But it is clear with Coraline that Gaiman can still chill your bones whether you’re a kid or an adult.

Coraline is the main character in the wonderful but scary novel about her life with her strange family in her strange apartment with some very strange neighbors.  You see, there is a door in this apartment which leads to the apartment next door, but it is locked and blocked off by a brick wall.  One day Coraline decides to take a look at what’s on the other side of that door and finds the wall gone, with an open space in its place.  Moving inside she finds a mirror image of the apartment she lives, as well as her parents there, only they are not her real parents.

Upon returning to her own apartment, she finds that her parents have gone missing, and she ventures back into the other apartment knowing that her fake parents have kidnapped her real parents, and it is up to her to save them.  She also finds a couple of friends in the other apartment who have been in this crazy world for a very long time.  In this world her fake mother is in control, ad she’s quite evil.  It is up to Coraline to stop her fake mother somehow, rescue her real parents, as well as her new friends.

In this wonderful novel that is part horror, part mystery, part thriller, and mostly a great kid’s story, the creator of the Sandman series brings us into some of the darkest dreams that children can have, and it is up to Gaiman to leads us through the right door.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally published on December 9th, 2002.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

“American Gods” by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow, 2001)

Gaiman’s American Gods

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From upcoming English author of Neverwhere and the successful Sandman comic book series, comes Neil Gaiman’s first great epic, American Gods.  In the metaphysical vein, Gaiman has created a world to rival those of Clive Barker’s, presenting new insight into n otherwise ignored genre.

Our main character is a man recently freed from prison, known as Shadow.  He is now heading for what he thinks will be a return to his former, happy life with a beautiful wife and his old job already lined up.  What he does not know is that his wife is dead, killed in a car accident while “administering: some pleasure to his best friend, the very man who gave him his job back.

Shadow is going to meet some very strange characters that go by some most unusual names: Mr. Wednesday, Mr. Nancy, Easter, Ibis, Jaquel, and Czernobog.  What he does not know is that he is very special, not just to these bizarre characters, but to the fate of two great armies – one as old as time itself, the other as new as the Internet – who will war against each other to decide who will have the right to govern the country as gods.

American Gods is a compelling, driving novel that enraptures the reader.  And while Shadow’s full potential and significance is never truly understood, as well as Gaiman’s obsessive use of dreams to explain crucial details, the novel on the whole is an enthralling read for any who profess to enjoy a kaleidoscope of horror/fantasy/metaphysics/sci-fi.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally published on February 18th 2002.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

“Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions” by Neil Gaiman (Harper Perennial, 2001)

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While few of you may be familiar with English author Neil Gaiman, he is a writer for any of those who enjoy reading horror in the vein of Ray Bradbury and Stephen King.  And what better way to experience and enjoy a new author than with a short story collection, giving a broad spectrum of Gaiman’s abilities.

Smoke and Mirrors does not have any running, horrific theme, or any specific aim; it is not horror or fantasy, science fiction or an erotic collection  . . . and then again it is all these and more.  The initial story, “Chivalry,” is about a lost knight – Galahad – who has been sent to find the Holy Grail; the problem is that a little old lady has recently bought it at a charity store and will not relinquish it that easy.  Written in poetic form, “Bay Wolf” presents a retelling of the epic of Beowulf through the framework of a Baywatch episode.

“We Can Get Them For You Wholesale” reveals the existence of a specific company that will kill people for a price; but when you request large numbers to be killed, the price drops; when you request the death of everyone on the planet, it’s free!  “Babycakes” is an obscene, perverted poem about a race that no longer has any animals to consume and use, so they turn to babies, who are similar intelligence.  “Some of them we ate.  Baby flesh is tender and succulent.  We flayed their skin and decorated ourselves in it.  Baby leather is soft and comfortable.”

While Gaiman does not possess much of a sophisticated literary skill – at least in this collection – he nevertheless is an author to read for the interesting and amazing stories he concocts.  This would be a welcome Christmas as present to anyone looking to try out a new author.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally published on December 3rd 2001.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.