The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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A man returns to his childhood home in Sussex, England, and memories from his childhood come flooding back to him, nagging at him, drawing him to the home of a childhood playmate, Lettie, and events that, looking back, don’t seem like anything other than fantasy. What was real, what was the imagination of a lonely little boy? Evil creatures, world domination, murder, the spirit world and much more will lead readers into a whirlwind of action and fantasy.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman,   is in the genre that I lovingly refer to as “Magical Realism”, and it doesn’t come up on my site very often because it is a bit of a dark horse in the world of literature. Magical Realism simply means that the author has taken “real” life people and settings and inserted fantasy and/or magical elements into that world. Neil Gaiman has a number of novels on my top favorites list, and if you haven’t read him, but you like dark fantasy, you don’t want to miss out on his work. Examples of other magical realism novels are:

Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere

John Connolly’s “The Book of Lost Things

Christopher Moore’s “Practical Demonkeeping

Ransom Riggs’ “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Doyce Testerman’s “Hidden Things

Anyone who likes to see an average person suddenly brought into a situation involving evil fantastical beings will probably like this genre and The Ocean at the End of the Lane would be a good place to test out those waters. Check it out if you dare.

Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman

One night, Calliope Jenkins, P.I., gets a phone call from her business partner that changes her life forever. There was nothing special about the phone call, just a check-in while he was on a job in the middle of the night. When the police appear on her doorstep claiming that her partner is likely dead, and they have found a body that may be his, Calliope refuses to believe it. She even has a voicemail from Josh that was received an hour AFTER the body was found. Something suspicious is happening and Calliope is about to take on an investigation that hits very close to home. A homeless man who seems to be wearing clown makeup keeps appearing wherever Calliope goes, and she is getting tired of kicking his butt. When she finally listens to the man, she agrees to take his advice and follow some clues that will let her know just what happened to Josh.

Reality begins to blur, as Calliope realizes that there is much more to the world than she has been led to believe. There are secret doorways into other worlds, monsters hiding in plain sight, dragons and fantastical creatures in the most mundane places, like karaoke bars and rest stops. Can Calliope get past the obstacles along the way in time to save her partner? Can it all be real? If Josh is actually dead, what does he want from her, that he would call her from beyond the grave?

Readers who loved these:

Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere

John Connolly’s “The Book of Lost Things

Christopher Moore’s “Practical Demonkeeping

Ransom Riggs’ “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Will adore Doyce Testerman’s Hidden Things“, which combines urban fantasy with dark sarcasm in perfect proportion. This reviewer was actually sad that the book was over-I wanted to know what else that fantasy world had to offer a girl! This novel is not for the average reader, but for the few who can appreciate dark humor and fantasy. If you think this may be a book you want to try, based on my description, then absolutely DO NOT miss it.