I loved this book! The author takes us back to our childhood's worst fears, and yet shows the beauty of friendship and self sacrifice for another. It reminds me of the feeling I had while reading "Harry Potter," that is; magic is real.
!I'm a big fan of Audible! Really enjoy listening to books, newspapers, and interviews on my ipod/iPad/iMac/iPhone.
Yes! Neil Gaiman just knows how to write a tale.
Trying to get the "worm" out of his foot!
The little boy! Than Lettie.
When it becomes clear Lettie has sacrificed herself for this little boy she has promised to protect.
This bok is fantastic. I literally didn't put it down. I listened to it straight through and will undoubtably listen to it again very soon. Do yourselves a favor and check it out.
I adore Neil Gaiman. To my mind, he's a master wordsmith and storyteller. He can distill wonder from the seminal & archaic: historical events, dated language, orphaned mythoi, places with memory...you name it.
As a stand-alone book, this one isn't the most engaging, so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unfamiliar with Gaiman's body of work. Even I admit that he's got far more powerful pieces in his repertoire. For the rest of us who are familiar though, the operative word here is 'nostalgia'. Listen to this for the nostalgia...
I walked away from this story thinking- wouldn't it be wonderful to believe in magic, and an ocean that looks like a pond, and to trust so fully in friendship.
I don't pretend to know or understand the full the full depth of this story, but I'm going to keep reading your reviews -such a great story. I ordered the book for my daughter, but I imagine that I'll get to get to it too :)
a dedicated dilettante
Mr. Gaiman draws us into our past, our fears and hopes, our homely comforts and all too frequent pain of relationship and how our childhood impacts our lives. He draws in with his simple language hiding some interesting constructs. He draws us in with images of our own past and our own reflections on it. For those that listen to the audio book, he draws us in with his voice and pacing. He draws us home only to realize that home is on the other side of the looking glass, down the rabbit hole and more warped than we like to remember.
Say something about yourself!
“Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.” - The Ocean at the End of the Lane
There is so much longing in this novel: the longing of a child to be understood and believed and accepted; the longing of an adult to remember those things that would give a life context and meaning; the longing of the individual to know that his/her life is worth all of the sacrifices (both those recalled and those forgotten) others have made in order to make it possible. But, as Ginnie Hempstock says in this story, "You don't pass or fail at being a person, dear." We can't justify our own existences. We can only try to be better today than we were yesterday.
I love Neil Gaiman's writing, and I loved this novel. Although the majority of it takes place when the narrator is a seven-year-old boy, the whole of it is infused with his (the narrator's - and, for that matter, Gaiman's) middle-aged awareness of his own weakness, mortality, and confusion. Growing up doesn't mean growing suddenly omnipotent or omniscient, and as I fortysomething reader, I share that vague sense of outrage and disappointment that the years did not make me more than I am or make the world more explicable to me. Fortunately, Gaiman leavens his bittersweet tale with that true sense of wonder that is his hallmark, and we are left with the consolation that there are wiser and stronger beings about, even if they aren't us grown-ups.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane isn't my favorite Gaiman work. It never achieved the same bone-chilling connection for me as Coraline or the masterful sense of place of American Gods or the intellectual thrill of the brilliant (brilliant, I say!) A Study in Emerald, but it's a haunting adult fairytale, beautifully drawn. I suspect it will follow me around for a long time.
Gaiman's sensitive narration really makes this book. Highly recommended.
Lots!.. I am so dumbfounded by this book that I can't even really articulate a review for it. I get it, its a memory that came back to him of this really weird couple of days he had where he got a peek at the secret world that Lettie and the Hempstock women live in; but the novel as a whole left me feeling so incomplete. I enjoyed the author as narrator, I though he did a great job. The writing style was fine too, but the story... sigh... I just don't have the words to properly describe how it made me feel, overall it was a let down. The only thing that kept me listening through to the end of the book was that it was only a 5 hr recording. I don't get how this story has so many rave reviews. While writing my review I took a break to look for someone else who may have found this novel less than perfect. I found a review on Goodreads that summed up my thoughts very well..."while this one is as readable as the others, it doesn't mean anything, doesn't relate to anything we know in life." (thanks Paul on Goodreads)... This was my problem with the story. What was the point????
No, and I am not sure that I am interested in any more of his books after this one.
I am an amateur ethno- botanist, an Apple evangelist and an avid consumer of audio books. Audio- books have given more choices of what to have in my head while I am doing mindless tasks. Audible has become more important now than when I first joined since I have limited shelf space in our new apartment.
I would listen to The Ocean at the End of the Lane again. It is a surprisingly deep piece of fiction that deals with a nameless narrator experiencing the feminine mysteries as a child.
I really don't know.
That would give too much away.
Yes. I listened to this book in one long rainy day.
This has become my second favorite Neil Gaiman's book. I highly recommend the tenth anniversary edition of American Gods.
Neil Gaiman is one of the most interesting storytellers of our time. From his award winning Sandman comic book series to his award winning novels like American Gods he has shown an amazing ability to look beneath the surface and give us a dream like experience of reality. His newest book The Ocean at the End of the Lane is no different. It is often hard to tell what is real and what is a dream. Or is it all a dream?
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is, at one level, the story of the narrator as a seven year old boy. The novel begins as the narrator is taking a drive down memory lane after a funeral. He drives past his childhood home and then finds himself going to the home of a childhood friend. He goes around to the back and sits down. As he sits he begins to remember the events that took place when he was seven. The seven year old boy is very familiar to me. At one level he is a reconstruction of Neil Gaiman as a child. I see myself in the boy as well. I too found my friends in books and preferred their company to that of other children. Like the narrator and the author some of the first books I remember are the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis.
The world of this seven year old is turned upside down when the man who is renting a room in their house commits suicide. This suicide wakes up something primordial. At the scene of the suicide the narrator meets Lettie Hempstock. At first Lettie seems to be nothing more than an eleven year old girl living with her mother and grandmother. These three women are far from normal. They are something larger and more powerful. By accident the narrator lets a great evil through into our world. Now, with the help of the Hempstock women he has to try and contain this evil and send it back where it came from.
This is more than just a story of childhood fantasy. It is the story of good against evil. Of powers beyond our control invading our world and trying to turn it upside down. It is the outside world trying to rob the innocence of children. It is the story of losing something, of something being taken as we grow older. Actually it is a story of childhood fantasy. It’s not the awakening to evil, it is the realization of good. Gaiman lists G. K. Chesterton as one of his childhood influences. Perhaps this quote from Chesterton’s essay “Red Angel” would help illuminate this book:
“Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.”
This is an amazing book. I am not sure that it would be appropriate for small children. I say I am not sure, not because it is frightening. I think that this book is more than that. I think that this book is for those who need to find the belief in something bigger than themselves.