This 2013 novel is the latest of Neil Gaiman's books. In it, an un-named protagonist returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. A stroll down a physical lane to the neighbouring Hempstock's farm leads to a psychological trip of an entirely different kind.
Our protagonist sits by the pond (an ocean in his childhood memories) and is transported back in time. The story gets underway as the odd and bookish seven-year-old sits at a table awaiting the arrival of the guests invited to his birthday party. No one comes and he retires to his room to read. The family is in a bit of a financial squeeze and has rented a room to a boarder who takes their car and commits suicide in it. This sets in motion the rest of the story as the protagonist seeks reassurance from the Hempstocks. Weirdness begins and when his mother goes back to work Ursula Monkton is hired as the new nanny for him and his sister. She isn't what she seems but a supernatural being who he and Lettie Hempstock inadvertently let into our world. All kinds of supernatural beings threaten them and the protagonist has forgotten the adventure for 40 years.
Neil Gaiman bends reality and nothing is as it seems. He explores the relationship between adults and children and memories of childhood and reality. Some reviews have called The Ocean at the End of the Lane a fairy tale for adults. It is a relatively short book but you have to pay attention or you won't know what is going on.
I am an avid reader and like to share some of my "finds" with others.