Thursday, July 10, 2014

2 books: The Ocean at the End of the Lane and About Grace

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is a very interesting book.  I think that I need to read
it again, or perhaps several more times, to get all that is in it.  It's a small book, but there is a lot there.  Some words used to describe the book: fantasy, fairy tale, magic, fable, myth.  All apply.

A man (whose name we never learn) returned to his childhood home area to attend a funeral and began to remember events that had occurred years ago when he was seven years old.  The events occurred both at his home and at the old farm down the road from his home.  A mean (to the boy) housekeeper turned out to be a deadly spirit.  The young girl Lettie at the old farm lived with her mother and grandmother...they seem to end up being good witches.  So as the man began to remember the events, he decided to seek out that old farmhouse and it is there that he learns more about his past.  And about memories.

It is a beautifully written book and one that I will return to at some point.

About Grace by Anthony Doerr is a first novel for the author. We have chosen his latest book for our book group to read next month, so when I saw this book, I thought I would read it and see how I liked it.  And I did like it.  I can't say that I loved it, but I did like it.  I look forward to reading more of his work.

About Grace is about David Winkler and his journey to find himself and his daughter Grace.  David
was from Alaska and had always been interested in weather, especially snow. He had the gift of seeing things before they happened (gift or curse?).  He fell in love with a married woman, and when she became pregnant with his child, they ran away to Ohio together.  The baby was named Grace.  David dreamt that Grace would die in a flood and when their place in Ohio began to flood, David began to unravel trying to save the baby, until it appeared that he was harming her, or may harm her.  Finally David realized what was happening to him and that he felt that he had no control over it and he decided that he needed to leave and get far away from Grace so that he would not harm her.

David ended up on a Caribbean island, not knowing if Grace was alive or not.  He made a solitary life for himself there and spent the next twenty-five years, wondering if Grace had died.  David was often cared for by a family that had a daughter and it was she who ultimately drew David back to the States to search for his answers.

"What were dreams?  A ladle dipped, a bucket lowered.  The deep, cool water beneath the bright surface; the shadow at the base of every tree.  Dreams were the reciprocal of each place you visited when you were awake, each hour you passed through."

This is an interesting, well-written book. 

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