My one problem with Neil Gaiman is, he sometimes drifts off into the overtly sentimental and naïve. Or at least his voice does; the plots themselves are actually very wise and very real.
Is it a big problem? No. Do I still find his works generally brilliant? Yes.
Among Gaiman’s books, I have so far read American Gods, Norse Mythology and The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
I found American Gods epic and ambitious, but with a few too many lengths.
I absolutely loved Norse Mythology; it made me buy the Edda.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the most recent Gaiman novel I have read, and while I don’t think it’s quite the masterpiece some of the blurbs inside make it out to be, I really enjoyed reading it, and did so very quickly.
The book tells of strange events that intrude into the family life of a young boy in a rural English town, and of the just as strange family, the Hempstocks, living on a nearby farm that helps him out. As usual with Gaiman, it is impossible to put the book in a box. At first I even thought it was a kind of fictionalized autobiography of @neilhimself. Soon it became clear that it was not. Gaiman doesn’t deal in genre, he deals in themes. The themes of this novel are childhood and memory, power and its abuse, the redeeming aspect of imagination, and the secrets of life as perceived through the eyes of a child.
In the typical manner of a Gaiman text, the dark mixes with the light, the grotesque mixes with the somber, the sad mixes with the funny. The reader is shocked as often as touched, scared as often as warmed. Most importantly, though, Gaiman, as always, serves us fantastic images and ideas (an ocean in a bucket, a very frightening scarecrow) and thus keeps his reputation’s promise. Neil Gaiman is where fantasy meets literature, and Ocean demonstrates this amply.
Bottom Line: People who already love Gaiman will eat this up (or fress it); the rest will love it too.