I don’t read books from the horror genre often, but one of my friends recommended this book to me. The title sounded interesting, as did the name of the character. So decided to give it a chance.
For some reason, I’ve always shelved reading books of Gillian Flynn. When I saw this short book from the author, I thought this would give me an idea on her writing style.
I’ve read very few books in the genre of horror. But one aspect of the book that I feel makes a lot of difference is the ability of the author to get the reader to experience the scene, rather than just state it. That was what I was expecting when I took up Anmol’s collection of stories titled ABCs of Horror.
There are few books that seem to mix two genres, or traverse the fine line between the two. I don’t mind that, as long as they do justice to both. I’ve read romantic thrillers, comical murder mysteries etc. The blurb of this book promised a mix of horror and thriller, while throwing in an aspect that isn’t explored in IWE (or at least, not to my knowledge) — the undead or zombies. It also helped that I had heard about the author from friends as a writer who was established in the genre of horror.
Each genre has its own particular characteristics, I feel. A fantasy works best when magic is at the forefront and a mystery when it makes the reader interested to solve the crime along with the tale. The genre of horror works best when the words make the reader imagine the scene, rather than saying it directly. It is this that I look for when I take a horror genre book to read.
Some things change, and some remain the same. Perhaps it’s the power of memories that help keep these things the same. It’s a similar feeling when the protagonist of this novel returns to the farm which changed things when he was a child. He finds himself walking back to the back of the farm, to a pond that the girl there had once called an ocean. And then, we go into flashback. To the day he had turned seven but no one attended his birthday party. To the strong dislike he felt for the man who had not just taken his room, but also accidentally killed his cat. To the things he had to compromise with his sister. And to that day, when going along with his dad to find that man dead, he met a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, who took him to see her ocean. But the Hempstocks aren’t what they seem. To escape from the new “housekeeper”, he goes back to the hempstocks, and another adventure unravels.
Gripping; I don’t think any other word suits this story better. From the start, till the end, it engaged me and made me hold on to every word. Trust me, imagining some part of this novel wasn’t easy at all; actually it was creepy, given that the description was quite vivid. The characterization is amazing. You feel what a seven year old feels. The resentment toward the people who seem to be suddenly entering his world; thinking who can be trusted and who cannot, his fears and his innocence; every little detail was quite spot on. In a way, could relate to the nameless boy too. It took me a couple of reads to understand the ending though.
This is a book to savor! That’s certain!
|Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane|
|Author(s): Neil Gaiman||Genre: Fiction|
|ISBN/ASIN: 9781472208668||Publisher: Headline / Hachette India|
|No. of Pages: 260||Price: INR 299|
(© 7th August 2015)