The hometown of acclaimed British writer Neil Gaiman will name a bus lane in honor of the hometown hero's newest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. What, the sidewalk was already taken?
Gaiman, a winner of the Newbery Medal, is perhaps best known for his dark fantasies about children, such as in his graphic novel-turned-Oscar nominated movie Coraline, as well as his most recent novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane fits.
But for the residents of Portsmouth, at the southern tip of England, most crucial is the fact that The Ocean at the End of the Lane "is set in the landscapes in which Gaiman grew up," as The Guardian notes. Between Portsmouth's centrality in Gaiman's new book and the "Lane" part of the novel's title, it's easy enough to see why the Portsmouth City Council plans to name a road after the book in a ceremony to take place this Sunday.
But that road will not be a central avenue but, rather, what appears to be a thin bus lane next to Canoe Lake, which Google Maps estimates to be about 350 feet long. True, we might be mistaken about the bus lane in question, as there are several in the vicinity. But, as Gertrude Stein might have said, a bus lane is a bus lane is a bus lane.
To be fair, the bus lane will look out toward the Atlantic Ocean, but it won't seemingly reach the road closest to the beach. Strange for a book titled The Ocean at the End of the Lane, no? We're not talking about The Ocean Several Hundred Feet From the End of the Lane, after all.
The Canoe Lake location is pretty, however:
So, yeah, getting an eponymous bus lane will probably rank pretty low on Gaiman's list of accomplishments. Nevertheless, the author was upbeat and excited about the naming ceremony, saying he was "gobsmacked, befuddled, delighted and baffled" at the honor. "I was even Barmitzvahed in the Portsmouth Synagogue," Gaiman says of his time growing up there.
Don't let us get you down, Mr. Gaiman. Mazal tov! May your future be full of many more blessings — and, perhaps, a bike lane, too.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.