Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Cover Identity | The Drowning Girl in The Ocean at the End of the Lane

So I see the North American cover art for Neil Gaiman's forthcoming novel has been doing rounds around the internet:

Pretty, isn't it?

That is, excepting the nebulous blue behind the author's name, which is sure to be embellished before the big day.

But this is Cover Identity: art alone - even lovely art like this - is just not enough.

Thus, I found myself wondering what was going on in this picture. On the surface it's simple enough, but look more closely: note that the girl - little Lettie, judging by the following synopsis - is perfectly prone. So is she drowning?

Could she be dead already? A body dumped in the deep sea?

Or has my mind immediately gone to dark places? It's quite likely Lettie could simply be submerged in the otherworld that exists underwater... which sounds awfully like a Neil Gaiman novel to me. Wonderfully, we can all speculate, but who can truly say?

There's blurbage too, though I'm not sure if it contains a clue:
"They say you cannot go home again, and that is as true as a knife..."

A man returns to his childhood village seeking comfort in memories of his youth and the friend who long ago transformed his life.

Once upon a time in a rural English town, an eleven-year-old girl named Lettie Hempstock shows a little boy the most marvelous, dangerous, and outrageous things beyond his darkest imagination. But an ancient power has been disturbed, and now invasive creatures from beyond the known world are set loose. There is primal horror here, and menace unleashed — within the boy’s family and from the forces that have gathered to consume it.

Determined to have their way, these otherworldly beings will destroy a meddling little boy if he dares to get in the way. It will take calm, courage, and the cleverness of the extraordinary Hempstock women — Lettie, her mother, and her grandmother, to keep him alive. But his survival will come at an unexpected cost...

Storytelling genius Neil Gaiman delivers a whimsical, imaginative, bittersweet, and at times deeply scary modern fantasy about fear, love, magic, sacrifice, and the power of stories to reveal and to protect us from the darkness inside — a moving, terrifying, and elegiac fable for every age.
It's been eight years since the mixed blessing of Gaiman's last effort for adults, Anansi Boys, but I don't doubt that The Ocean at the End of the Lane will be brilliant.

That said, it's going to be a fleeting pleasure at best. According to Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, Gaiman's new book is only 192 pages long!

Size certainly isn't everything, and I hate to sound ungrateful - make no mistake: this is worth getting worked up about - but after all this time I admit I'd been hoping for something... more.
I'll be there day one anyway, which is to say on the 18th of June 2013. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is coming from Headline Review hereabouts, and William Morrow in North America. Mark your calendars accordingly!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed Anansi Boys very much and loved The Graveyard Book but wish we didn't have to wait so long between books of his, period. He doesn't appear to be the prolific author he once was and that is certainly hard for fans. I wouldn't mind this new one being short, I'm not a fan of big novels, but given that it may be YEARS again before we see another novel, less than 200 pages is not great.

    Love the new cover...except, as you pointed out, the part behind his name. That is odd.