Neil Gaiman on myths versus adult stories

Cover of Neil Gaiman's novel The Ocean at the End of the LanceI need time for it to settle, but I believe that The Ocean at the End of the Lane is my favorite Neil Gaiman novel (that isn’t Good Omens). It feels to me like it is his most complete novel written for adults (even though it’s really about childhood). By most complete I mean that the prose, structure, pacing, characterization, worldbuilding and ending all worked and worked together.

I don’t have anything in-depth to say about it. I do want to quote from it, though. This is about 30% percent into the book where the main character goes out into the garden to read as a way of processing the fact that his mother is going back to work and that he and his younger sister would be looked after by a boarded housekeeper:

I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories. They were better than that. They just were.

Adult stories never made sense, and they were so slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, Masonic, mythic secrets to adulthood. Why didn’t adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and smuggles and dangerous fairies? (53)

3 thoughts on “Neil Gaiman on myths versus adult stories”

  1. I liked Ocean. I want to read it again and see whether I love it. His American Gods books are too self-conscious for me, but I like Stardust very much and love Neverwhere.

    I own Good Omens, but haven’t read it yet. Sometimes I hoard books by favorite writers and save them for a very rainy day. That’s how it is with Good Omens. Come to think of it, I should have read it yesterday.

  2. Good Omens is excellent reading for a cold, rainy/snowy day. Although I don’t recommend it for those convalescing from winter colds–you’ll laugh so much that you’ll cough up a lung.

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