I started American Gods. I haven't finished it yet. Don't get me wrong. This isn't a criticism of the work. This is more a criticism of my ability to take in and understand it at the time. Just like his wife Amanda Palmer has said, this novel flew right past my soul.
It was one of the reasons why I was so excited to see Kevin Hearne's book Hounded earlier on this year being described as the best parts of American Gods and Dresden Files. And, also to my pleasure, it was a significantly easier read.
So now I'm entering into a one-book-per-month read-a-thon of Neil Gaiman's works (retweeted by @neilhimself), starting with The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
Early on, before any of us had started this reading, one of the girls in the group linked us all to this blog post written by Amanda Palmer:
"he started working on a short story, something he’d had in the works but wasn’t quite certain of. it wasn’t a memoir, per se, but a purée on a lower blender speed. some part of what pushed him to work on this (instead of the other four projects he had deadlines for) was to give the story to me, like some kind of olive branch, maybe….the story that never got shared that day in surrey hills...
neil started crafting a string of words that was like a long hand reaching out of his heart and across the void that i’d put between us. i didn’t understand that, then. i only see it now."
So, I've just finished reading this latest book by Neil Gaiman. The Ocean at the End of the Lane came out three months ago.
It was... It was the kind of book that made me want to bash my head against a wall for taking so many years to actually *get* Neil's writing. The layers that this book took you through were utterly astounding. On the surface, this is a book about a seven year old child who goes through what you think is a memorable experience, only to find that there is so much more than the story of a seven year old to be taken in.
For those who are fans of Gaiman and realise this is his most autobiographical work, you will enjoy stepping into the story and finding out the difference between metaphor and imagination, appreciating the layers as you go deeper and deeper. For those who aren't, this book is easily read on its own without any prior knowledge outside of its pages just for the characters and the wonderfully crafted language.
I rated this highly. I thought it was amazing.