Neil Gaiman’s latest book, THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, launched onto the market in a flurry of early glowing reviews on June 18th, and it was a long and “surreal” day for Gaiman, fresh from a plane in from London to usher the work into the hands of UK and US fans. The first US event of his “last book tour” packed the Howard Gilman Opera House at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), promising both a reading from his new work and a personal signing session engineered to handle the increasing numbers at fan events in a humane way while still giving attendees an experience of the author’s work in his own voice and on his own terms. Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn sponsored this “offsite” event and were also heavily involved in keeping things running smoothly, bringing in other Gaiman works for sale for the signing and testifying to the author’s best-selling oevre.
No matter how urbane the event-goers may have seemed, there was a rock-concert excitement to the gathering and the unmistakeable building enthusiasm of kids waiting for Christmas before the reading, not surprising at a Gaiman event, but heightened by the book launch and the sense of pride for locals that Brooklyn was kicking off the US tour. The underlying fact that OCEAN has been described as a strongly autobiographical work also played a role in marking the evening as particularly special, a time to hear from the man himself about the experiences that shaped the book.