Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Book Club Neil Reminiscence

As summer drew to a close in 2015 my book club took advantage of the fine weather for our meeting and sat in cafe chairs sharing a Caprese salad while the last warm breeze teased the air. It was a day where you could feel the shift of the seasons, summer was ephemeral, much as the impression left by The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Ironically the member of my book club who put Neil's book into the hat was unaware of the unofficial book club outing two years previously, but somehow, the book getting picked, despite the attempted rigging to get The Martian selected, seemed right. The Ocean at the End of the Lane was coming full circle. We got to talk about our previous adventure but having now read the book there was a deeper meaning to that journey. What struck me, and the rest of book club, was that while we all rated it highly we agreed that it was a hard book to discuss, because much like summer, the book was slipping away from our collective conscious.

Much like the unknown narrator's continual memory loss as to what exactly happened in those days with the Hempstocks, this is a book that you enjoy while reading yet somehow when you finish you don't quite remember what happened. Oddly enough I don't think that this is a deterrent for the book. I think often of A Wrinkle in Time and how many endless occasions have led to me re-reading that book since it was first read aloud to me in forth grade, and yet I can not for the life of me tell you what exactly happens in that book. Yet both these books leave behind this feeling of childhood and hopes and dreams and endless possibilities that are just there for the taking. They are both classics in that they capture something true. Something crucial to hope and life. Now The Ocean at the End of the Lane might not be my favorite book by Gaiman, but I connect it to hope, and these wonderful experiences I have had with my friends, and that is pure magic.


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