The Ocean at the End of the Lane: Review

Ocean at the EndBy Neil Gaiman, read by Michael Sheen

Radio 4, July 8-12

Neil Gaiman’s magical tale brought to life…

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a beautifully written short novel by Gaiman (set not too far from my own Sussex home) which captures the wonders and the horrors of childhood, both in terms of recognisable elements from all of our own lives – a birthday party where no one comes; ‘adult’ events from which children are shielded for their own sakes – and those which most of us will never experience, with creatures from other planes of existence which only the narrator can see.

Its voice is very distinctive: the adult is relaying what he can remember of the past, which means everything is going through a double filter, since when he was a boy, he didn’t necessarily understand everything that was happening. For this Radio 4 version, abridged by Doreen Estall, Michael Sheen (who admits that he’s been a fan of Gaiman’s work for many years) captures that slightly questioning quality, as well as providing the many other voices that populate the book. The fifteen-minute segments pass in a flash as Sheen draws you in to a world where an ocean maybe really does exist in what looks like a puddle…

Verdict:  As with the book, you’ll want to go straight back to the beginning and start again as soon as you’ve finished – a terrific rendition of a great novel. 9/10

Paul Simpson

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  1. Pingback: Book Festival focus on Doctor Who, comic books and SF | Sci-Fi Bulletin - August 12, 2013

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