In the fall, Suman was compelled to share her favourite quotes from Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, because “there’s basically a charming line or exchange that you’ll want to share on every page.” This is exactly how I felt about Neil Gaiman‘s latest novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane, his first book for adults since #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.
In case you don’t know, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is an imaginative fable about three magical women who live down the road from a young, shy boy. More importantly, the novel is a love letter to literature, and a reminder of the safety that we found in stories as children. As the young boy gets caught up with wandering spirits, The Ocean at the End of the Lane becomes an homage to childhood curiosity and to reckless imagination.
Years ago, I discovered Neil Gaiman’s work through quotes that fellow bloggers posted online. Because of this, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to write about The Ocean at the End of the Lane than with the lines that will undoubtedly be shared by fellow readers, writers and book lovers for years to come.
“Books were safer than other people anyway.”
“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”
“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled.”
I’m sure many savvy readers can relate to this:
“Growing up, I took so many cues from books… They were my teachers and my advisors.”
“I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories. They were better than that. They just were.”
“Adults follow paths. Children explore.”
“I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.”
This quote is a favourite of mine, as it draws parallels to Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art speech:
“I make art, sometimes I make true art, and sometimes it fills the empty places in my life. Some of them. Not all.”
“A story only matters, I suspect, to the extent that which people in the story change.”
And, my favourite line of all, as told by Old Mrs. Hempstock to our confused and misguided narrator…
“You don’t pass or fail at being a human, dear.”
Find out more about The Ocean at the End of the Lane here.