105 Ways to Give a Book

Existential Emptiness in The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Feeling down and reflective today. Everything seems slow. The morning has moved by me with no effort or action on my part, aside from a writing part of song that has long been tickling the inside of my brain. The Internet is sluggishly loading, my email seems stuck, and even as I'm writing this post I'm reading above the ominous "An error occurred while trying to save of publish your post. Please try again."

Oh I'm trying. Lord knows, I'm trying.

I planned to start the week off with a review but it feels more like a quoting sort of day. And not even from a title that needs to be shared, as it's old news online, but it was a book that truly moved me in an unexpected way. See, I have issues with the darkness of Neil Gaiman's tales where I respect the artistry of his craft but often find it isn't for me. Not so with The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I was hooked from a haunting description of childhood that felt much like mine:
I was not happy as a child, although from time to time I was content. I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.
Isn't that ridiculously telling for two sentences? The story itself is not like my life, as it then moves into an allegorical fairy tale slash horror story that kept me enthralled slash quaking. Beautifully done and leading to one of the most moving descriptions of the existential emptiness that I've ever read. Though it's towards the end of the book, I don't think it gives away anything - except maybe the heart of the book. But you've probably all read it anyway, so here:
How can you be happy in this world? You have a hole in your heart. You have a gateway inside you to lands beyond the world you know. They will call you, as you grow. There can never be a time when you forget them, when you are not, in your heart, questing after something you cannot have, something you cannot even properly imagine, the lack of which will spoil your sleep and your day and your life, until you close your eyes for the final time...


Okay, maybe I need to take a walk or pet a puppy or something.

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guiltlessreader said...

Hope your walk shook off the shivers. I just got my copy of this and don't really know what to expect. Let's see

tanita✿davis said...

I haven't yet read this book, but that is indeed QUITE a quote... kind of beautiful, and horribly tragic, at the same time...