Favorite author: Alexander McCall Smith Favorite narrator: Gerard Doyle Favorite listen : Burton and Swinburne Trilogy
There was a really great line in this book where the children opined what if adults are really just scared children disguised in grown up bodies. (Paraphrased) It was an adult remembering something that had happened in his childhood the way be remembered it as a child. It really brings you back to the way you looked at things as a child. When , in retrospect, the way you understood the events was not reality. I feel like it is a great story that makes you long for the freedom you had as a child but at the same time remember how you were controlled by your dependence on other people, like your parents. Anyway, this story was kind of an adult look back at Nanny McPhee meets Coraline. It was fabulous and certainly worth the credit. Final note about Neil Gaiman narrating it hisself. I personally enjoyed the narration. However, I can see where people would be disappointed. I mean Neil Gaiman has paired a lot of perfect narrators with authors. So maybe there was a better narrator out there.
If you're a Neil Gaiman fan, prepare to be surprised by the intimate tone of his latest book. Gaiman's story - magical, remarkable and dark - is perhaps his most revealing work to date.
As I read this book, I felt Gaiman was sharing bits and bobs of his own childhood, skillfully woven into the fictional narrative. The result was the feeling that I was reading a somewhat biographical account of his own life.
I will never be able to do justice to this story. All I can say is go read this book and be prepared to laugh, to cry and be given a glimpse into this amazing man's life.
The story is compelling and haunting. All childhood fears are there, once that were forgotten and should not have been remembered.
Usually, I am wary to listen to a novel read by the author himself, but this was a lyrical experience. Gaiman not only writes excellently, he also has a good sense of timing and drama when he narrates.
I read and listen to books. I drink tea. I sleep like a cat and wished I lived in Hawaii.
I have been hesitant to read Neil Gaiman even though he gets rave reviews. Fantasy is not my favorite type of genre or my second favorite or even my third favorite. So, when this book came out and it was short, I knew this was my initiation book into the world of Neil Gaiman. This book is written so beautifully. I was swept away at the writing style and the superb narration. The first half of the book was a 5 star listen, hands down. Gaiman did a great job introducing and building up the characters while laying the foundation of the story. The second half was a 4 star listen, only because this was the more fantastical part of the novel and while I could still appreciate it, it wasn't the first half. I loved this book because even though it was told through the eyes of a 7 year old boy, it still came across as an adult fictional book. This book makes you remember what it was like to be a child, all the safe and fun parts and all the scary parts. As an adult, it made me appreciate all of those experiences, but also made me feel like they were so far away. All the imagination surrounding the Hempstock women, our protagonist's neighbors, is quirky and charming. I also give props to all the quotes on the love of books, the kitty cats and the British slang. This is a book that I would listen to again.
Much more fairytale Coraline/Stardust/Graveyard Book than American Gods/Anansi Boys/Neverwhere, but still a decent novella. Felt like a story from Fragile Things carried to completion. It was neat to hear that there was a lot from his early childhood that was pulled into this story, and it was a surprise to him that the short story grew into this -- for my money, though, I like Gaiman when he's more grit and gristle.
I really enjoyed this story, I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I read the last line I started the book over again. Yep, 2 readings in 2 days….skill! Ahem, I mean, it helps that I have the audiobook and Neil Gaiman reads to me as I push papers around my desk.
When I read Coraline, I came into it thinking it was a story for children and I had that mode in my head. There was aspects of that story that were fun and exciting for a child, but when an adult reads it they are kind of freaked out.
Ocean is a book meant for adults, so the darker aspects hit home in a different way. We have all been children. We have all been afraid of the dark or believed that there really were things that were magic. As adults we believe what we can see (or we are supposed to). The fact that the events touched both the adults in the story and the child made it especially frightening. You are lifted out of the story and begin to wonder, is it the imagination of a seven year old trying to cope with what his family is going through, or is this flea real? That uncertainty is what is so exciting about this book. The Hemstock women help keep the story from being too dark. Gaiman does an amazing job of using these women to balance the terror he has invoked with their warmth. Their farm becomes a symbol of refuge and comfort. The young narrator comes to them for help and in Letty he finds a protector.
Letty protects our young narrator, but never explains why she does it. This point in the story begs the question: Was I worth it? I guess what I mean is that the narrator is an adult when we begin the story. He is not at the best place in his life and when these memories begin to rush to him it makes him evaluate if he was worth protecting. Let’s take it a step further. When we were children someone protected us. They did this because there was an expectation / hope of the persons we would become as adults. Have we met that expectation? Is that a bar that we should measure ourselves by? Or perhaps they had no motive and just wanted to make us feel safe.
This is why I read Neil Gaiman’s books. I get so much more from them than an amazing story. I hope you pick up this novel and that you enjoy it as much as I have.
I was captivated by the picture on the cover and the brief blurb I read. Without any other info, I set about listening. Gaiman is a very good writer and an even better narrator - so it was easy to be captivated by the story telling - at least early on. I kept waiting for the story to become more interesting and to take some unexpected twist to keep me interested. It never did. Instead, by the end of the story, I developed a new appreciation for what it meant to write for a young audience and decided that it was no coincidence that the opening of the book was a quote was from Maurice Sendak. So - if you are interested in a contemporary children's story with magic, good, and evil, try this one. If you are looking for a more substantive story and you are not inclined to listen to children's stories, try something else.
I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.
Neil Gainman writes odd books. This we know. This might well be the oddest one I've read. I've tried three or four times to describe it to friends and failed. But it absolutely casts a spell over the reader. It's creepy, touching, and very compelling. I think I could say it was about a child's experience with evil. I would not hand it to anyone under the age of 18.
What it has is the child's clarity about what they see, and the honesty to state it. It's a stunning book about evil, good, and the perception of both. And a fascinating statement as to how much of that we can, as adults take in.
He is an astonishing reader as well.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Gaiman's short novel seems like a strange combination of Virginia Woolf (memory and philosophical introspection) mixed with a contemporary angst about money and the value of one life -- all riding the crazy three-beat narrative tail of Gaiman's own fantastic world of magic, witches and time.
The wonder of Gaiman is his ability to quickly transport the reader with both his emotional reach as his imaginative depth. He isn't satisfied in telling a fantastic story, he really wants to pull the reader by their gut and grab them by their insecurities and worries. He doesn't want to paint a myth-by-numbers story, but instead wants shadows and flashes from his story to resonate with his readers. He seems satisfied to have his novel's truth/meaning flash briefly like the guanine sheen from a school of fish or appear suddenly in the back of your throat like an old, lost sixpence.
A novel that is both worth the credit but still seems too short. Gaiman is a rare author that narrates his stories at the level they deserve.
Yes. I'm sure there is something that I missed the first time. And I love the sound of Neil Gaiman's voice.