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Just finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman's most recent novel. It was fine? The writing and weaving of myth into everyday life was excellent as usual. I was not entirely satisfied by the ending. In terms of tone and emotional complexity, though, it read like an extended chapter of The Graveyard Book or maybe a much less vibrant Coraline, both of which I consider Lesser Gaiman anyway. It is still certainly Gaiman doing Gaiman things, though.

I say that Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, but in fact he's really only written two books I care about, American Gods and Neverwhere. It's just that I care about them a LOT (albeit for different reasons). I also enjoyed Anansi Boys quite a bit, and I've liked some of his short stories. I found Stardust pleasant but forgettable; I actually liked the movie better.

So, I think we may have fewer hits than misses at this point.

(Has anyone read those YA novels he's writing with Michael Reaves? The Interworld series? Are they worth a try?)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comment here or there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 15th, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
I felt the same way about Stardust! Except I'm not even sure I would have called it pleasant (it's been a few years since I read it). I like the movie so much more, which is really unusual for me. That might be the only movie adaptation I like better than the book.
Nov. 15th, 2014 07:58 pm (UTC)
I would agree with you about book versus movie, unusually for me, too!
Nov. 15th, 2014 05:26 pm (UTC)
I really enjoy Gaiman's worldbuilding, but for me, there's always an emotional distance to his stories. I'm always aware that they are stories; I never get sucked into the protagonist's head.
Nov. 16th, 2014 03:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think Gaiman is really interested in the story as object, but writing that necessarily means sacrificing other storytelling aspects, like immediacy.
Nov. 15th, 2014 09:22 pm (UTC)
I looked back at my own review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane from last year, and hahahaha:

What I just finished reading: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman. It was fine?

So, judging from the two of us, the universal reaction to that book is "ehhh". I totally agree that it seemed very much like one of the books he's written for children, while I had been hoping for something aimed more at adults. My favorite of his is probably Anansi Boys - I just really loved the characters in that one - but I really enjoyed American Gods and Neverwhere too. I've liked some of his short stories too, but for the past few years he's been more miss than hit with me.
Nov. 16th, 2014 03:15 pm (UTC)
Hah, the two of us are totally a representative sample and can be extrapolated from with impunity! :D

But yeah, I feel like he's been just copying himself the last few years, with less and less success.
Nov. 15th, 2014 09:49 pm (UTC)
I think Gaiman's problem is that he always picks the most boring person to tell the story from and they're usually outside POVs to some extent, so I never connect with his narrators.
Nov. 16th, 2014 03:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, he does tend to prefer writing the story from the perspective of someone viewing the world for the first time. The Graveyard Book was an anomaly in that way - Bod is very much a creature of his environment - but since he was a kid still discovering his surroundings, the effect was largely the same.

And that outside POV tends mostly to be male, too. :\
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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