Probably my favorite book from Gaiman so far. When my copy arrived from the library, I was a bit dismayed by how very slim the volume is – but although it’s short, the length is just right for the story. It merges the qualities of Gaiman’s adult and juvenile-oriented work extremely well, meshing the strengths of both.
At a stressful moment in his life, an adult man, on a whim, drives to the road where he lived as a child. Once there, he begins to remember long-forgotten details from his childhood, and decides to pay a call on the house where a young friend of his used to live, down at the end of the lane. Gradually, he recalls yet more strange and unexplained things which happened to him in conjunction with his friend, her family, and a perilous trip into another realm.
The book combines the feeling of a fairy tale with a mature perspective both melancholy and wondrous.
Gaiman captures here, more perfectly than I have seen in any other work, the sensation of almost-remembering (or recalling, but not-quite-recapturing) the magic (and nightmares) of childhood; that feeling that sometimes memory must be erased or changed in form to fit into an adult reality.