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Brewery Book Club: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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FHB Book Club meets once a month at the brewery and anyone is welcome to come or not come based on their interest in that month's book. No commitment, no stress...just a chance to learn something new, share your opinions, and meet fellow supernerds. The book discussion is lead by our resident bookworm and brewery co-owner, Molly.  There's no fee to participate and no purchase required.  Usually book club meets 3rd Wednesday of each month, at 7 pm, but this month due to Thanksgiving week, we're meeting a week early, on the 2nd Wednesday of November, November 14.  We've picked a shorter book to accommodate the shorter-than-usual time between meetings.  

November's book is The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, which is a short novel ("a fairy tale for adults"), perfect for a late fall escape.  Although most of his novels were published years ago, Gaiman is a bit of a trendy name right now  -  his books have spawned buzz-worthy, binge-inducing TV in the last year and a half (American Gods and Good Omens), and his foray into creative nonfiction with his Norse Mythology in 2017 continued to illustrate his unique range and inventiveness as a writer.  If you've never read him before, the just-250ish-paged The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a great way to try out Neil Gaiman.  

 

About The Ocean at the End of the Lane:

UK National Book Awards 2013 "Book of the Year"

“Fantasy of the very best.” Wall Street Journal

A middle-aged man returns 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. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, 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.

A groundbreaking work as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark, 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.

“[Gaiman’s] mind is a dark fathomless ocean, and every time I sink into it, this world fades, replaced by one far more terrible and beautiful in which I will happily drown.” New York Times Book Review

“Remarkable . . . wrenchingly, gorgeously elegiac. . . . [I]n The Ocean at the End of the Lane, [Gaiman] summons up childhood magic and adventure while acknowledging their irrevocable loss, and he stitches the elegiac contradictions together so tightly that you won’t see the seams.” (Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“Gaiman has crafted an achingly beautiful memoir of an imagination and a spellbinding story that sets three women at the center of everything. . . .[I]t’s a meditation on memory and mortality, a creative reflection on how the defining moments of childhood can inhabit the worlds we imagine.” (Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI))

“His prose is simple but poetic, his world strange but utterly believable—if he was South American we would call this magic realism rather than fantasy.” (The Times (London) on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“[W]orthy of a sleepless night . . . a fairy tale for adults that explores both innocence lost and the enthusiasm for seeing what’s past one’s proverbial fence . . . Gaiman is a master of creating worlds just a step to the left of our own.” (USA Today on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“Poignant and heartbreaking, eloquent and frightening, impeccably rendered, it’s a fable that reminds us how our lives are shaped by childhood experiences, what we gain from them and the price we pay.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“[A] compelling tale for all ages . . . entirely absorbing and wholly moving.” (New York Daily News on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“[A] story concerning the bewildering gulf between the innocent and the authoritative, the powerless and the powerful, the child and the adult. . . . Ocean is a novel to approach without caution; the author is clearly operating at the height of his career.” (The Atlantic Wire on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“Ocean has that nearly invisible prose that keeps the focus firmly on the storytelling, and not on the writing. . . . This simple exterior hides something much more interesting; in the same way that what looks like a pond can really be an ocean.” (io9)

“This slim novel, gorgeously written, keeps its talons in you long after you’ve finished.” (New York Post on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“In Gaiman’s latest romp through otherworldly adventure, a young boy discovers a neighboring family’s supernatural secret. Soon his innocence is tested by ancient, magical forces, and he learns the power of true friendship. The result is a captivating read, equal parts sweet, sad, and spooky.” (Parade on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

Earlier Event: November 14
Tarot Card Readings
Later Event: November 15
Body Butter Make-And-Take Night