Audie Award Finalist, Narration by the Author or Authors, 2014
Audie Award Finalist, Fiction, 2014
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.
©2013 Neil Gaiman (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers
I think that Neil Gaiman's narration added something to the text that no one else could have, nor would the simple text have been as powerful. This is truly a masterpiece.
There are many childhood fantasies, but this one stands alone in my estimation. It possesses the best element of imagination combined with a child's eye view of the world and the people who inhabit it. The concept of a tiny piece of land that becomes a whole world and a duck pond that becomes the ocean could only happen in the mind of a child. Even though you know that it is a fantasy, a part of you wishes it were all true. Though a very different book it did remind me a bit of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Thing Are which I read to my son over and over when he was child.
I have read (listened to) a few of Gaiman's books, but I have never been captivated by them before. This book absolutely held me, possessed me, as it were. It is a work of real genius that belongs along side of Exupery's The Little Prince as a book that can be read and reread many times.
The description of this book is unclear to the listener. It is not about unraveling a mystery it is about witches and other worldly creatures in a little boy's imagination.
If you enjoy stories about witches/goblins then this story will appeal to you.
I do not. I feel it was misrepresented in its description. Also, the sample does not allow the listening to fully understand that it not a story about a boy finding a body in the car by a barn it is about a boy's wild imagination and his relationship with witches after a creature enters this world through his body. I knew about 10 minutes into listening that it was not for me. Sadly I used my only credit.
The Ocean at the end of the lane reminded me of the childrens stories my father use to rwad to me at bed time. It would be a good book for people of all ages. Having lessons that can be grasped by both young and old alike. Having Neil G. read it himself also brought in that touch of authenticity of having this type of book performed as I would expect. I think it slso helps to bridge the gap between author and reader almost like giving you a glimpse in to to how Neil G. imagined it.
Listening to this book was time well spent. The author's voice was perfect for it's narration. You can't go wrong with this purchase.
I love to read with my ears while doing chores, running or driving.
Somewhere between A Wrinkle In Time and Something Wicked This Way Comes; but a separate story to itself.
Wasn't too impressed with this one. The main character was 7 years old through most of the book, but the language used, reading vocabulary, and overall life experience was well advanced for that age. I kept thinking, this isn't a seven year old's perception. Then, it would revert back to a small child's view of happenings. I almost quit on this one, but struggled through.
Quite high up!
I'd say it compares to most of what Gaiman writes. If you're a Gaiman fan, you'll most likely enjoy this book. If you're not a Gaiman fan, then I guess you haven't read any of his books... :)
There's something special about authors reading their own books, particularly when they do it as well as Gaiman does.
Yes. I almost did.
Time and time again Neil Gaiman shows what an good writer he is. This is no exception.
"Neil Gaiman is brilliant"
Neil Gaiman is normally praised for his creative stories, which is deserved, but what I really appreciate is when he narrates them himself. In addition to speaking in his own agreeable voice, he does all manner of Anglophone voices and accents across time and space, which really brings the characters alive. And his timing and phrasing are perfect. I first discovered his narration in the Graveyard Book, which is my favorite of all in terms of narration due to all the different characters represented.
The Hempstock women (Lettie, her mother, and her grandmother) are a trio of great characters. They are comforting and make you recall being safe and protected.
Not easy to say which scene was most enjoyable, but what I like is that the main character / narrator seemed to understand, even as a young boy, the limits of the people around him (particularly his father), and realized that even in disappointment, there may be something positive to be found. I keep thinking of the 7th birthday party his mother threw for him which none of his classmates attended; he didn't mind so much, because he got to keep the party game prizes for himself.
How to know and then forget everything.
"Couldn't put it down"
Great story, well told. Always nice to have the story read by the author too. Listened to this book in one sitting, had to know what was going to happen next. I would highly recommend this book.
"Neil Gaiman does it again"
This book is more in line with The Graveyard Book rather than American God from a Gaiman perspective if you are a fan. It is very well told by Gaiman himself and the story is excellent. His writing is very clever and you won't be let down if you decide to buy/cash in a credit. That said I think that the Graveyard Book is better, but some people may prefer this one for reasons I can't say without giving too much away!
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