I finished reading The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, by Neil Gaiman, a few weeks ago, but I had to give myself some time to process emotionally and rationally what the book had done to me. Being so talkative about books, this time I was strangely silent.
First, I have to admit, I had this little disdain for it, stuck with the idea I had already read something like it. I couldn’t remember where, so I moved on, thinking to myself how foolish I have been and focussing on how creative people can be when it comes to fantastic fiction. It seems the possibilities open up to a broader range, making the narrative more fluid, poetic, complex. And there I was, stuck again, this time with all the concepts of literary analysis I had studied at school. I got caged in the theory, without properly looking at the novel itself.
Then came a very nice blogger review, talking about how the book made her cry about the lost childhood, the home she would never be able to go back. I felt like there was something missing in my interpretation of the book, perhaps the sentiment of the book. It was running through my fingers, I was letting it scape. It was urging me to revisit my own childhood, teasing me.
I spent most of hot summer nights in a beach called Barequeçaba, a couple of hours away from São Paulo. The only thing I could count on was that I would reunite with cousins and friends that I haven’t seen all year. We would have long walks on the shore, philosophical talks at moonlight. We would swim on the ocean at the end of the lane, the real ocean.
I met my first love on that ocean in my teens, when we first exchanged kisses in between the waves. Both of us liked walking to the end of the beach and swimming to the other side of the mountain, following the rocks, where we would find a small inhabited beach. We had fun, but we grew up and those days became a sweet memory. It has been years since we managed to get together again.
After getting engaged, I went back to that same beach to visit the house my grandmother had sold a couple of years ago. I think the last time I had been there was when I met my husband. I wanted to show him that part of me that was gone, but I couldn’t translate into words what I wanted him to see. I wanted him to see the old me, the one that had run up and down those sand rocky streets in her swimming clothes and bare foot. The teenager that could sneak out of her house to see a loving friend at 2am, sometimes bringing beers under her arm. The woman that had taken a couple of friends for a Carnival (or Mardi Gras) at the beach and ended up at a party at the club a couple of miles away that one day she met him. Afterwards, she returned home, slept and woke up the next day to see a phone with an incredibly big number of text messages. What I now realize, though, was that I went there to show myself I had grown and the past was gone, remaining only the memories and the good feelings. I guess you could say I wanted to show the ocean where I swam so many times how I was doing without him.
- Thoughts on Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” (joelkempff.wordpress.com)
- He’s Gone and Done It Again – The Ocean at the End of the Lane (ilovegeekology101.wordpress.com)
- Just Read: The Ocean at the End of the Lane (readinginbetween.com)
- Feeling like a child. Review of Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. (thebleedinginkwell.com)
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (the-book-ends.com)