A bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, from one of the most prolific living post-modern writers will be the subject of discussion at Qatar National Library’s (QNL) first book discussion event of the New Year.
The discussion of British author Neil Gaiman’s novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane – in English – will be held at Al Khor Hall, Education City Clubhouse, on January 11, from 6pm to 7.30pm. An imaginative and poignant fairy tale, the thought-stirring novel deals with the search for self-identity and how our lives are shaped by childhood experiences.
Kummam M al-Maadeed, Public and Media Relations Specialist, QNL, told Community, “We try in QNL to diverse our choices of books each month to appeal to people’s different tastes. Our aim is to gather a community of readers and provide them with a platform where they can freely discuss and share their thoughts and experiences on the books’ subject. Neil Gaiman is, of course, a pioneer in his field and has many fans in Qatar, and we hope they will join us in the session to provide us with their insight on the story.”
The Ocean at the End of the Lane presents exciting events that combine fiction and reality, it sheds light on the relation between the writer, the reader and the characters of the story, QNL says. The novel tells the story of a middle-aged man who returns in his memories to his childhood home remembering places, people and his experiences at that time. QNL recommends that you read the book beforehand – copies of the book are available at the local bookstores. If interested, you can RSVP to Maryam Maarafeya at [email protected] 
Gaiman, the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere (1995), Stardust (1999), the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning American Gods (2001), Anansi Boys (2005), and Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett, 1990), as well as the short-story collections Smoke and Mirrors (1998) and Fragile Things (2006), is known to write books for readers of all ages. 
Regarded as one of the creators of modern comics, as well as an author whose work crosses genres and reaches audiences of all ages, Gaiman is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top 10 living post-modern writers and is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics and drama. Set in Sussex, England, the story opens with a middle-aged man returning to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother, the book’s synopsis says. 
He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touch-paper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie – magical, comforting, wise beyond her years – promised to protect him, no matter what.
“A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out,” Goodreads points out in its synopsis, “It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.”