The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

by Neil Gaiman

Narrated by Neil Gaiman

Unabridged — 6 hours, 22 minutes

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

by Neil Gaiman

Narrated by Neil Gaiman

Unabridged — 6 hours, 22 minutes

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Overview

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet sitting by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean), the unremembered past comes flooding back. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. A stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.


Editorial Reviews

MAY 2013 - AudioFile

"How long have you been 11 for?" That’s just one of the mysteries in THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, where otherworldly things might be strange but aren't in the least impossible. As the 7-year-old protagonist, Neil Gaiman projects all the wonders and terrors of childhood, both ordinary and extraordinary. His neighbors, 11-year-old Lettie, Mrs. Hempstock, and Old Mrs. Hempstock, have rural Sussex accents that get stronger when the things that they love and protect are threatened. Gaiman evokes the comforts of their farm lovingly—good food, a full moon that always shines on the back of the house just so—and they contrast with the coldly emotionless voice of the story's villain. Spooky, beautiful, and magical, OCEAN will stay with listeners for a long time. J.M.D. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2014 Audies Finalist

"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.

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)

From the Publisher

[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.” — USA Today 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.” — Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on The Ocean at the End of the Lane

“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.” — Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI)

“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.” — The Times (London) on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE

“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.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[A] compelling tale for all ages . . . entirely absorbing and wholly moving.” — New York Daily News 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.” — The Atlantic Wire on The Ocean at the End of the Lane

“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.” — io9

“This slim novel, gorgeously written, keeps its talons in you long after you’ve finished.” — New York Post 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.” — Parade on The Ocean at the End of the Lane

“’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!” — Bookish (Houston Chronicle book blog)

“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.” — Laura Miller, Salon

“[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.” — Chicago Tribune on The Ocean at the End of the Lane

“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.” — Charles DeLint, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction on The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

null 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.

null 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.

null New York Daily News on The Ocean at the End of the Lane

[A] compelling tale for all ages . . . entirely absorbing and wholly moving.

null 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.

null 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.

null 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.

null 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

New York Daily News on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE

[A] compelling tale for all ages . . . entirely absorbing and wholly moving.

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.

MAY 2013 - AudioFile

"How long have you been 11 for?" That’s just one of the mysteries in THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, where otherworldly things might be strange but aren't in the least impossible. As the 7-year-old protagonist, Neil Gaiman projects all the wonders and terrors of childhood, both ordinary and extraordinary. His neighbors, 11-year-old Lettie, Mrs. Hempstock, and Old Mrs. Hempstock, have rural Sussex accents that get stronger when the things that they love and protect are threatened. Gaiman evokes the comforts of their farm lovingly—good food, a full moon that always shines on the back of the house just so—and they contrast with the coldly emotionless voice of the story's villain. Spooky, beautiful, and magical, OCEAN will stay with listeners for a long time. J.M.D. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2014 Audies Finalist

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.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940170208463
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 06/18/2013
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,116
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