The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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Overview

A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman's first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.

This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real…

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Overview

A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman's first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.

This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real…

Read More Show Less
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

"I thought of turning around, then, as i drove down a wide street that had once been a flint lane beside a barley field, of turning back and leaving the past undisturbed, but i was curious." Neil Gaiman's first adult novel in nearly eight years leads us into a farm at the end of the lane, a trio of surreally strange female neighbors, and a mystery that we too cannot ignore. An evocative, lyrical fantasy by a master of the craft. Now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

The Washington Post - Keith Donohue
…marks the return of one of the fantastic mythmakers of our time…Gaiman is a magpie, a maker of collages, creating something new and original out of the bits and pieces of his wide reading of myth and folklore…This is a novel of nostos—that ineffable longing for home, for the sensations and feelings of childhood, when the world was frightening and magical all at once, when anything and everything were possible…The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a small thing with much joy and heartache, sacrifice and friendship, beautifully crafted and as lonesome as the ocean.
Publishers Weekly
“Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later... but they are never lost for good”—and the most grim of those memories, no matter how faint, can haunt one forever, as they do the anonymous narrator of Gaiman’s subtle and splendid modern myth. The protagonist, an artist, returns to his childhood home in the English countryside to recover his memory of events that nearly destroyed him and his family when he was seven. The suicide of a stranger opened the way for a deadly spirit who disguised herself as a housekeeper, won over the boy’s sister and mother, seduced his father, and threatened the boy if he told anyone the truth. He had allies—a warm and welcoming family of witches at the old farm up the road—but defeating this evil demanded a sacrifice he was not prepared for. Gaiman (Anansi Boys) has crafted a fresh story of magic, humanity, loyalty, and memories “waiting at the edges of things,” where lost innocence can still be restored as long as someone is willing to bear the cost. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (June)
The New York Times Book Review - Benjamin Percy
…Gaiman is especially accomplished in navigating the cruel, uncertain dreamscape of childhood…His 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.
Kirkus Reviews
From one of the great masters of modern speculative fiction: Gaiman's first novel for adults since Anansi Boys (2005). An unnamed protagonist and narrator returns to his Sussex roots to attend a funeral. Although his boyhood dwelling no longer stands, at the end of the road lies the Hempstock farm, to which he's drawn without knowing why. Memories begin to flow. The Hempstocks were an odd family, with 11-year-old Lettie's claim that their duck pond was an ocean, her mother's miraculous cooking and her grandmother's reminiscences of the Big Bang; all three seemed much older than their apparent ages. Forty years ago, the family lodger, a South African opal miner, gambled his fortune away, then committed suicide in the Hempstock farmyard. Something dark, deadly and far distant heard his dying lament and swooped closer. As the past becomes the present, Lettie takes the boy's hand and confidently sets off through unearthly landscapes to deal with the menace; but he's only 7 years old, and he makes a mistake. Instead of banishing the predator, he brings it back into the familiar world, where it reappears as his family's new housekeeper, the demonic Ursula Monkton. Terrified, he tries to flee back to the Hempstocks, but Ursula easily keeps him confined as she cruelly manipulates and torments his parents and sister. Despite his determination and well-developed sense of right and wrong, he's also a scared little boy drawn into adventures beyond his understanding, forced into terrible mistakes through innocence. Yet, guided by a female wisdom beyond his ability to comprehend, he may one day find redemption. 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.
Charles DeLint
“When I finally closed the last page of this slim volume it was with the realization that I’d just finished one of those uncommon perfect books that come along all too rarely in a reader’s life.”
Booklist (starred review) on OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE
“Gaiman mines mythological typology--the three-foldgoddess, the water of life (the pond, actually an ocean)--and his own childhood milieu to build the cosmology and theater of a story he tells more gracefully than any he’s told since Stardust...[a] lovely yarn.”
New York Post on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE
“This slim novel, gorgeously written, keeps its talons in you long after you’ve finished.”
Parade 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.”
The Times (London) on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE
“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.”
New York Newsday on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF LANE
“Entirely absorbing and wholly moving...a haunting tale.”
USA Today 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.”
Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE
“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.”
New York Daily News on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE
“[A] compelling tale for all ages . . . entirely absorbing and wholly moving.”
The Atlantic Wire 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.”
Bookish (Houston Chronicle book blog)
“’The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ is fun to read, filled with his trademarked blend of sinister whimsy. Gaiman’s writing is like dangerous candy—you’re certain there’s ground glass somewhere, but it just tastes so good!”
Laura Miller
“The impotence of childhood is often the first thing sentimental adults forget about it; Gaiman is able to resurrect, with brutal immediacy, the abject misery of being unable to control one’s own life.”
io9
“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.”
Wall Street Journal on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE
“Mr. Gaiman labels [his novel] ‘for all ages,’ which is exactly right. It has grief, fear and regret, as well as love and awe-adult emotions, but children feel them too…. [L]ike all Mr. Gaiman’s work, this is fantasy of the very best.”
Chicago Tribune on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE
“[W]ry and freaky and finally sad. . . . This is how Gaiman works his charms. . . . He crafts his stories with one eye on the old world, on Irish folktales and Robin Hood and Camelot, and the other on particle physics and dark matter.”
Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee
“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.”
Library Journal
Gaiman here departs somewhat from his previous books, instead featuring greater emphasis on investigation of the human condition and a more subdued fantasy element. The main character revisits his boyhood, particularly a series of formative events surrounding his friendship with a girl named Lettie Hempstock. The plot rapidly evolves from reminiscent to scary to downright life-threatening, with profound reflections on mortality inherent in the drama. In this ominous environment, seeming evil is explained as a misplaced desire to please, and the ocean at the end of the lane is a liquid knowledge bath transcending space and time that helps rescue the boy. In fact, Lettie is one of the keepers of the ocean, and she and her family represent caretakers who manage the equilibrium of our world and protect the hapless. As we learn the full extent of our narrator's relationship with the Hempstocks, the absolute necessity of the act of forgetting becomes clear. VERDICT Scott Smith's The Ruins meets Astrid Lingren's Pippi Longstocking. A slim and magical feat of meaningful storytelling genius. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/12.]—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA
The Barnes & Noble Review

The line between a book for adults and one for children is at the best of times unstable. As a writer, Neil Gaiman's always been playing with it, in one way or another. He has had better luck with the porous border when he tries to write books "for all ages." His books for children, like Coraline, are the kind that you would be happy to see join the other founding myths on a child's shelf, placed next to Narnia or Harry Potter. The skill of that sort of work is to refashion what adults recognize as the enduring story arcs of of legends and fables — beldames, Christ-on-the-cross, father-figure mentors — into something that has a whiff of the contemporary, enough to remind children that these things really could happen.

In The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Gaiman is trying to double back once more on the fold. This book for adults has a plot that looks made for children. As the book opens, our now-grown-up narrator is returning to visit his childhood home and finds himself drawn to a nearby farm with a distinctly enchanted quality. He gradually remembers having been involved with the three women, the Hempsteads, who lived there when he was a child of seven. Almost without realizing it, he becomes a central figure in a sort of cosmic battle, between the "old country," to which the women belong, and the new.

The point of conflict is, as in Coraline, the rise of an uncanny, malevolent female taking the place of a nurturing mother. But here the hag figure is more clearly styled a sexual predator, one who threatens the seven-year-old's certainty of his father's goodness. As such Gaiman is attempting the territory of the bildungsroman, with the additional distance of a narrator who is already grown up. And of course, as such, he feels ambivalence about growing up. "I do not miss childhood," he muses at one point, "but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled."

You could say that with this book, Gaiman's most successful attempt at a novel "for adults" to date, he has at last learned that one needn't write so self-consciously about "greater things" to get at them. That, I've always thought, was the problem with his American Gods. Granted, it was a bestseller when it appeared in 2001, but it was a creaky, disjointed one. Weighed down with overcooked mythology, explicit sex, and borrowings from noir, it was a bit too aggressive on the "adult" point to hang together, in a way that suggested insecurity on the author's part. It was like Gaiman, a Brit, was sure he could do the natives one better at making an a grand American fantasy and was throwing everything at the wall to prove it. Or, perhaps, to show that he could invent on an epic scale without borrowing from Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is more like Gaiman's attempt to do Chekhov, to hint at big things by way of small ones. Everything is narrowly conceived, from setting to cast of characters to plot and even to the slim and elegant conception of that "old country." Gaiman wears the narrowness of it surprisingly well, forcing him to be subtle where he's before been a maximalist. For example, because Gaiman's narrator is mostly articulating what he thought and saw at seven years old, he bears only indirect witness to questions of sex and religion. I preferred to gather the sex, somehow, through the way the beldame is seen "hugging [another] from behind." The technique here is not unlike Emma Donoghue's in Room, using a child's blinkers to illuminate the things happening beyond his gaze. It isn't the least bit coy.

That said, Gaiman's control is not perfect: when he abandons indirection, things get a bit shaky. Not every observation fails, of course. At one point the narrator muses,

Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between the fences.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane gets away with generalizations like that because Gaiman is distilling the insights of a child in the language of an adult. And yet the flat psychological understanding of it gets even more explicit as the narrator's observations veer towards literary manifesto:
I liked myths. They weren't adult stories and they weren't children's stories. They were better than that. They just were.

Adult stories never made sense, and they were so slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, Masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood. Why didn't adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and smugglers and dangerous fairies?
Setting aside that the formulations are clumsy here, the question too is at best an awkward attempt at irony. Gaiman of all people knows the answer: actually, adults do want to read such stories. In those small moments, I think, Gaiman would be better to follow his character's advice and let his attempts at myth just be. When he does, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is not just very good but cleaves quite close to greatness. It suggests that the process of growing may be learning how those "greater things" the narrator reflects on are entwined with the small things he took pleasure in as a child — much as the pond at the Hempsteads' farm is actually, as one of the women there insist, an ocean.

Michelle Dean is a journalist, critic, and erstwhile lawyer whose writing has appeared at The New Yorker, Slate, The Nation, andThe Awl.

Reviewer: Michelle Dean

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062255655
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/18/2013
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 16,078
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman was awarded the Newbery and Carnegie Medals for The Graveyard Book. His other books for younger readers include Coraline (which was made into an Academy Award-nominated film) and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish (which wasn't). Born in England, he has won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

Biography

Neil Gaiman thought he wrote comic books. But a newspaper editor, of course, set him straight.

Back when he was riding the diabolical headwinds of his popular series of graphic novels, The Sandman, the author attended a party where he introduced himself as a comic-book writer to a newspaper's literary editor. But when the editor quickly realized who this actually was -- and the glaze melted from his eyes -- he offered Gaiman a correction tinged with astonishment: "My God, man, you don't write comics, you write graphic novels." Relating the story to theLos Angeles Times in 1995, Gaiman said, "I suddenly felt like someone who had been informed that she wasn't a hooker, that in fact she was a lady of the evening."

Gaiman's done much more, of course, than simply write graphic novels, having coauthored, with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, a comic novel about the Apocalypse; adapted into hardcover the BBC miniseries Neverwhere about the dark underworld beneath the streets of London; and, inspired by his young daughter, put a horrifying spin on C.S. Lewis' wardrobe doors for Coraline, a children's book about a passageway into a magical, yet malevolent, land.

But it is The Sandman that is Gaiman's magnum opus.

Though he had told a career counselor in high school that he wanted to pen comic books, he had a career as a freelance journalist before his first graphic novel, Violent Cases, was published in England in 1987. DC Comics discovered him and The Sandman was born. Or reborn, actually. The comic debuted back in 1939 with a regular-Joe crime fighter in the lead. But in Gaiman's hands the tale had a more otherworldly spin, slowing introducing readers to the seven siblings Endless: Dream, Death, Desire, Destiny, Destruction, Despair and Delirium (once Delight). They all have their roles in shaping the fates of man. In fact, when Death was imprisoned for decades, the results were devastating. Richard Nixon reached The White House and Michael Jackson the Billboard charts.

Direction from newspaper editors notwithstanding, to Gaiman, these stories are still comic books. The man who shuttled back and forth between comics and classics in his formative years and can pepper his writing with references to Norse mythology as well as the vaudevillian rock group Queen, never cottoned to such highbrow/lowbrow distinctions. Comparing notes on a yachting excursion with members of the Irish rock band U2, the writer who looks like a rock star and Delirium and the rock stars who gave themselves comic-worthy names such as Bono and The Edge came to a realization: Whether the medium is pop music or comic books, not being taken seriously can be a plus. "It's safer to be in the gutter," he told The Washington Post in 1995.

In 1995, Gaiman brought The Sandman to a close and began spending more time on his nongraphic fiction, including a couple of short-story collections. A few years later he released Stardust, an adult fairy tale that has young Tristan Thorn searching for a fallen star to woo the lovely but cold Victoria Forester. In 2001, he placed an ex-con named Shadow in the middle of a war between the ancient and modern dieties in American Gods. Coming in October 2002 is another departure: an audio recording of Two Plays for Voices, which stars Bebe Neuwirth as a wise queen doing battle with a bloodthirsty child and Brian Dennehy as the Angel of Vengeance investigating the first crime in history in heaven's City of Angels.

Gaiman need not worry about defining his artistic relevance, since so many other seem to do it for him. Stephen King, Roger Zelazny and Harlan Ellison are among those who have contributed introductions to his works. William Gibson, the man who coined the term "cyberspace," called him a "a writer of rare perception and endless imagination" as well as "an American treasure." (Even though he's, technically, a British treasure transplanted to the American Midwest.) Even Norman Mailer has weighed in: "Along with all else, Sandman is a comic strip for intellectuals, and I say it's about time."

The gushiest praise, however, may come from Frank McConnell, who barely contained himself in the pages of the political and artistic journal Commonweal. Saying Gaiman "may just be the most gifted and important storyteller in English," McConnell crowned Sandman as the most important act of fiction of the day. "And that, not just because of the brilliance and intricacy of its storytelling -- and I know few stories, outside the best of Joyce, Faulkner, and Pynchon, that are more intricate," he wrote in October 1995, " but also because it tells its wonderful and humanizing tale in a medium, comic books, still largely considered demimonde by the tenured zombies of the academic establishment."

"If Sandman is a 'comic,'" he concluded, "then The Magic Flute is a 'musical' and A Midsummer Night's Dream is a skit. Read the damn thing: it's important."

Good To Know

Some fascinating factoids from our interview with Gaiman:

"One of the most enjoyable bits of writing Sandman was getting authors whose work I love to write the introductions for the collected graphic novels -- people like Steve Erickson, Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Mikal Gilmore, and Samuel R. Delany."

"I have a big old Addams Family house, with -- in the summertime -- a vegetable garden, and I love growing exotic pumpkins. As a boy in England I used to dream about Ray Bradbury Hallowe'ens, and am thrilled that I get them these days. Unless I'm on the road signing people's books, of course."

"According to my daughters, my most irritating habit is asking for cups of tea."

"I love radio -- and love the availability of things like the Jack Benny radio shows in MP3 format. I'm addicted to BBC radio 7, and keep buying boxed CD sets of old UK radio programs, things like Round the Horne and Hancock's Half Hour. Every now and again I'll write a radio play."

"I love thunderstorms, old houses, and dreams."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portchester, England
    1. Education:
      Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

The Ocean at the End of the Lane


By Neil Gaiman

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2013 Neil Gaiman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-225565-5


[
I.
Nobody came to my seventh birthday party.
There was a table laid with jellies and trifles, with a party hat
beside each place, and a birthday cake with seven candles on it in the
center of the table. The cake had a book drawn on it, in icing. My
mother, who had organized the party, told me that the lady at the
bakery said that they had never put a book on a birthday cake before,
and that mostly for boys it was footballs or spaceships. I was their
first book.
When it became obvious that nobody was coming, my mother
lit the seven candles on the cake, and I blew them out. I ate a slice of
the cake, as did my little sister and one of her friends (both of them
attending the party as observers, not participants) before they fled,
giggling, to the garden.
Party games had been prepared by my mother but, because
nobody was there, not even my sister, none of the party games were
played, and I unwrapped the newspaper around the pass-the-parcel
gift myself, revealing a blue plastic Batman figure. I was sad that
nobody had come to my party, but happy that I had a Batman figure,
and there was a birthday present waiting to be read, a boxed set of
the Narnia books, which I took upstairs. I lay on the bed and lost
myself in the stories.
I liked that. Books were safer than other people anyway.

10 Neil Gaiman
My parents had also given me a Best of Gilbert and Sullivan LP, to
add to the two that I already had. I had loved Gilbert and Sullivan
since I was three, when my father's youngest sister, my aunt, took me
to see Iolanthe, a play filled with lords and fairies. I found the existence
and nature of the fairies easier to understand than that of the lords.
My aunt had died soon after, of pneumonia, in the hospital.
That evening my father arrived home from work and he brought
a cardboard box with him. In the cardboard box was a soft-haired
black kitten of uncertain gender, whom I immediately named Fluffy,
and which I loved utterly and wholeheartedly.
Fluffy slept on my bed at night. I talked to it, sometimes, when
my little sister was not around, half-expecting it to answer in a
human tongue. It never did. I did not mind. The kitten was affec-
tionate and interested and a good companion for someone whose
seventh birthday party had consisted of a table with iced biscuits and
a blancmange and cake and fifteen empty folding chairs.
I do not remember ever asking any of the other children in my
class at school why they had not come to my party. I did not need
to ask them. They were not my friends, after all. They were just the
people I went to school with.
I made friends slowly, when I made them.
I had books, and now I had my kitten. We would be like Dick
Whittington and his cat, I knew, or, if Fluffy proved particularly in-
telligent, we would be the miller's son and Puss-in-Boots. The kitten
slept on my pillow, and it even waited for me to come home from
school, sitting on the driveway in front of my house, by the fence,
until, a month later, it was run over by the taxi that brought the opal
miner to stay at my house.
I was not there when it happened.
I got home from school that day, and my kitten was not waiting

The Ocean at the End of the Lane 11
to meet me. In the kitchen was a tall, rangy man with tanned skin
and a checked shirt. He was drinking coffee at the kitchen table, I
could smell it. In those days all coffee was instant coffee, a bitter
dark brown powder that came out of a jar.
“I'm afraid I had a little accident arriving here,” he told me,
cheerfully. “But not to worry.” His accent was clipped, unfamiliar: it
was the first South African accent I had heard.
He, too, had a cardboard box on the table in front of him.
“The black kitten, was he yours?” he asked.
“It's called Fluffy,” I said.
“Yeah. Like I said. Accident coming here. Not to worry. Dis-
posed of the corpse. Don't have to trouble yourself. Dealt with the
matter. Open the box.”
“What?”
He pointed to the box. “Open it,” he said.
The opal miner was a tall man. He wore jeans and checked shirts
every time I saw him, except the last. He had a thick chain of pale
gold around his neck. That was gone the last time I saw him, too.
I did not want to open his box. I wanted to go off on my own.
I wanted to cry for my kitten, but I could not do that if anyone else
was there and watching me. I wanted to mourn. I wanted to bury my
friend at the bottom of the garden, past the green-grass fairy ring,
into the rhododendron bush cave, back past the heap of grass cut-
tings, where nobody ever went but me.
The box moved.
“Bought it for you,” said the man. “Always pay my debts.”
I reached out, lifted the top flap of the box, wondering if this
was a joke, if my kitten would be in there. Instead a ginger face stared
up at me truculently.
The opal miner took the cat out of the box.

12 Neil Gaiman
He was a huge, ginger-striped tomcat, missing half an ear. He
glared at me angrily. This cat had not liked being put in a box. He
was not used to boxes. I reached out to stroke his head, feeling un-
faithful to the memory of my kitten, but he pulled back so I could
not touch him, and he hissed at me, then stalked off to a
(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Copyright © 2013 Neil Gaiman. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Posted June 18, 2013

    Over the course of his career, author Neil Gaiman has delighted

    Over the course of his career, author Neil Gaiman has delighted readers with his storytelling abilities. His almost childlike sensibilities have allowed him to reach audiences through various mediums, spanning from comic books to more traditional children and adult literature. With his latest adult novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, he explores a dark story with enough whimsy and emotion to attract readers of all tastes.
    The novel begins with a forty something year old man returning to the small English town where he grew up. His old home has long been demolished, but he is drawn instead to a dilapidated farmhouse at the end of the lane. When he arrives there, he begins to reflect on his childhood and the dark events that occurred at the place.
    He was only seven years old when it began. A quiet boy, more at home with his nose in a book than playing with other children, he was an outcast within his own family. We learn that the family is struggling with money. They decide to move him from his own room to bunk with his sister, leaving an empty bed to rent out. With the arrival of the renter, a mysterious opal miner, dark events begin to occur.
    The boy meets the three generations of Hempstock women who run the farm at the end of the lane. Lettie Hempstock, who claims to have been eleven years old for a very long time, immediately entrances the boy with her enchanting way with words and conviction that the pond that rests at the very end of the lane is actually an ocean. She agrees to allow him to tag along as she takes a trip to an odd place that lies somewhere between this world and the next. Upon their return from the strange place, an evil is released. Following the untimely death of the mysterious opal miner, this evil takes the form of a menacing nanny, who takes up residence at the boy's home. With the help of the Hempstock women, the boy must vanquish the evil while learning the true meaning of sacrifice.
    Neil Gaiman is known for his delightfully dark, whimsical fairytales. This novel is no exception. At its heart, this is a coming of age story that beautifully depicts the fun, confusion, magic, and sacrifice of growing up. Gaiman makes these sometimes difficult realities more accessible through his imaginative characters, situations, and pacing. The novel is completely engrossing, begging to be read in a single sitting. With an ending that is both poignant and satisfying, readers of all ages should definitely follow Gaiman to the end of the lane.

    95 out of 116 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2013

    Nothing like it

    It was a surprise when I first saw the book, not because of its appealing tittle but because of it's length. I had come into the book expecting a long novel, what with such an intriguing tittle and all. Now that I finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane I am even more surprised that I could find so much in such few pages. I often found myself at mid-sentence, lost in my own thoughts and an endless stream of ideas an reflections that spurred from something I had read in the book that caught my mind. Never in the countless books I have read have I come across the feeling I got with this book. The pages contain a feel of wisdom about our existence that catch you unprepared yet leave you no choice but to follow stop and reflect even at the most trivial things.
    It was a beautiful experience that I highly recommend.

    58 out of 62 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    After reading Gaimans other novels, I was excited to hear of thi

    After reading Gaimans other novels, I was excited to hear of this new one. It's on the short end of the scale for a novel, length wise, but incredible nonetheless. From the wonders and possibilities of childhood, to the adult elements, I found the prose just as magical as the story. I look forward to whatever Mr. Gaiman can dream up next. 

    30 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2013

    From start to finish, this was an amazing story. I expect nothin

    From start to finish, this was an amazing story. I expect nothing less from Gaiman. I loved it so much, in fact, I'm re-reading it right now. 

    26 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    The OceanvAt The End of the Lane

    I have read almost all Gaiman's books and have enjoyed them all. The fact that his books can be so different from one another is an effect of his huge talent. This book was different and I found it very enjoyable.
    There, see how easy that is....all you have to do is make a comment or two about if you liked the book or not, and maybe why or why not! Not since leaving 4th grade after learning how to write a full book report has ANYONE been interested in reading one! Don't you long winded (really lomg winded!!!) Book report writers get that if we are here, on a Nook, chances are we can read the plot summary written under the Editorial Review section all by ourselves--AND DO NOT need it endlessly repeated? All of you, write letters to people who care instead of wasting time and space here! How many times by how many people do you have to read this before you all get a clue???

    25 out of 55 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    A world you'll get lost in, willingly. worth all the hype his bo

    A world you'll get lost in, willingly. worth all the hype his books always seem to garner. You could read it in one sitting, huddled under a blanket, by flashlight.

    25 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This is the first Neil Gaiman book I've had the pleasure of read

    This is the first Neil Gaiman book I've had the pleasure of reading. And what a pleasure it was! This story has great mystery that keeps you turning the pages. The characters are well developed and I loved the plot.

    23 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    I really want to like Neil Gaiman's work...I really do. But ever

    I really want to like Neil Gaiman's work...I really do. But every time I read his works I come away feeling like something is missing. American Gods left me puzzled and confused and to a certain degree angry.  Ocean, however was a better experience, but you are left with more questions than answers and somehow I get the feeling that is his aim. Bad luck for me I'm not the kind of reader entertained by such devices. So I'm leave it at this, if you love Gaiman, you'll love this. If you hate Gaiman, you'll hate this and if you  have never read him before, he's definitely a modern classic writer for all the good and bad of it but still worth a try. 

    19 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Ocean at the End of the Lane was like skinny dipping on a hot Ju

    Ocean at the End of the Lane was like skinny dipping on a hot June night, in a deep, moon dappled pond. I held my breath, and dove deep...... you awoke magic with your words......I shall never be the same.I thank you.

    16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2013

    Story was OK.... Just wish I had paid closer attention to the l

    Story was OK.... Just wish I had paid closer attention to the length of the book... A lot of money for 159 pages. Come on Barnes and Noble and Mr Gaiman be reasonable.
    Definitely wait until it goes to the bargain bin....

    13 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    "Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content

    "Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences."

    This was the one quote that really made me stop reading the novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by author Neil Gaiman and really consider all the profound truth that may lie within the simple quote. It is very true and it takes the imagination of a child to really appreciate all the things that Neil brings to life in this one. An adult would try to reason there way through this, while a child would just accept what is happening and move forward without needing to know why.

    In this dark, fairy tale story, monsters are really and the things you think are real, really are. In fact I am reminded of Tim Burton's movies as I read through this one. At first, it doesn't make a lot of sense much like a child explaining something out of the ordinary. You just need to stop over analyzing it and just take it as face value and continue to dig deeper.

    In this one the narrator, who's name I don't believe is ever mention is remembering back to a childhood experience that happened to him when he was only seven. Now much older he has returned to the place when the horror began and where the nightmare was something he truly lived and not dreamed. It begins with the death of the boy's only companion, a kitten that was accidentally run over and killed by their border, an Opal Miner who thinks simply replacing the cat will appease the damage he has done. This is the beginning of a not so happy story. Much like A Series of Unfortunate Events, Neil Gaiman takes his much deeper and to a darker place where evil now has an open door into the current world in which to find a foothold in solving what people believe makes them happy. To do so, requires a bit of finesse, but one our character can see through.

    It's when he follows his father one morning when their car is reported missing that he discovers the body of the Opal Miner in the car and thus introduces us to the women in the Hempstock household who have the uncanny ability to solve things that no one else can see. He is soon befriended by Lettie, an eleven year old girl who has been eleven for quite some time and has a prophetic vision to what is really happening in town. Lettie and her family live at the end of the lane and care for the boy until his father comes calling for him. Soon he finds out that Lettie and her family have far more powers than he could ever imagine and thus the novel turns into a darker more menacing version of Alice in Wonderland meets Bridge to Terabithia.

    I received The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable one. This is not recommended for young teens and falls in the upper young adult category to be age appropriate. I would have to say the writers ability to pull off an exceptional fantasy tale with a dark twist is wonderful and I'd rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars. It is a surprisingly thin novel that draws out the story to feel like you've read a whole lot more pages than you did, a mark of an exceptional writer. I look forward to reading more from this author and fully enjoyed his unique writing style. This is the very same author who wrote Coraline, so you can prepare yourself for what you are about to find inside.

    10 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    Sometimes, a book comes along that is quite different than every

    Sometimes, a book comes along that is quite different than everything else you read. This is that book. It's a small book, one that I read in a couple sittings, and really, I wouldn't have it any other way. Becuase for those several hours in my life, I was somehwere else. Rarely can a book capture hot only your interest, but your heart, your spirit. All too easy we forget what it's like to be young and innocent. A time when believing comes naturally. There aren't apt words to describe this book, but I'll try anyways. This book is mystical, and heart-warming, and so much more. It brought me back into my childhood, when life was simpler. If you haven't read this book, read it...now. If you're weary to spend this much money on a pretty small book, I do understand, but I can tell you sometimes the money does not compare to the experiecne you get. This book is simply magical, and I got reccomend it enough.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    I can't  believe I paid $12.80 for this book.  First book I've r

    I can't  believe I paid $12.80 for this book.  First book I've read by this author and it will be the last.

    5 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2013

    Delightful read

    Fantasy at it's best. Lovely little story about a 7 yr old boy and his new friend who lives at the end of the lane and whose pond is actually an ocean. Will not give away any of the story but it is charming. Very quick read too!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    Threshold

    I love to read and it would usually take me less then a day to read anion this length. However I had to force myself to finish this book (taking me nearly a week). The story was slow, the charecters do not have much depth, between jumping point of veiw and the flash backs its hatd to keep track and make any sense of what is actually going on. All and all it was a waste of money and not something I would reccomend.

    4 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

    I just can't see what people like about this story. While it kep

    I just can't see what people like about this story. While it kept me entertained at times, in the end it just to appeared to be senseless babble. I am sorry, I cannot give kudos to a story that is basically senseless fantasy that makes no commitment to a conclusion or point. If you have a few hours to waste, have at it.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This was my first Neil Gaiman novel, and will likely be my last.

    This was my first Neil Gaiman novel, and will likely be my last. I just did not like this book at all. It's marketed as an adult fantasy novel, but it's novella length and read like a children's story. The narration was flat and I never connected with or even liked any of the characters. I wish things in the story had been explained; I left the novel feeling like I didn't know any more about what had occurred than I did during it. If it hadn't been so short, I'd never have been able to finish it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    disappointing

    Not my kind of book. Sorry I spent $11.00. Only 190 pages. (Guess I should be happy about that!).

    3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    I really didn't care for it at all. I have an imagination but th

    I really didn't care for it at all. I have an imagination but this book was not for me.

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    Clicky Clicky!

    Didn't this guy write the graveyard book?

    3 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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