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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel | [Neil Gaiman]

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

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. 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. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    N. Walden Utah 02-20-14
    N. Walden Utah 02-20-14 Member Since 2013

    Page Turner, Avid Listener, Life-long Student.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Typically Wonderful Gaiman"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Most definitely, the simple magic of the story is enchanting and the cadence with which Gaiman reads lulls and excites at the same time.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Nasu, Japan 02-10-14
    Scott Nasu, Japan 02-10-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Gaiman's great self-narration drives this home!"

    While many pro narrators (i.e. the phenomenal Simon Vance) do character voices much better than Neil does, there's a special sense of authenticity when the author does his own work. You know you're getting exactly what he wanted! Neil's narration is extremely good, particular his sense of pacing, and the soft character of his voice. The story is also pure Gaiman, and fun blend of the quaint, and the mysterious. A very enjoyable, if not too deep, five hours or so.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Sacks Hartsdale, NY United States 02-08-14
    Jennifer Sacks Hartsdale, NY United States 02-08-14
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    "Lovely First Listen"
    What made the experience of listening to The Ocean at the End of the Lane the most enjoyable?

    I'll readily admit that I've always been a Neil Gaiman fan, but hearing him read his own work was *quite* a treat for me. I just started listening to audiobooks on long runs, and this book definitely helped me get to 7 miles! Gaiman is a masterful narrator. :)


    What other book might you compare The Ocean at the End of the Lane to and why?

    Probably anything that involves Magic Realism: Neverwhere, The Golem & The Jinni, Night Circus


    Have you listened to any of Neil Gaiman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Haven't listened to Gaiman read his own novels but will continue to!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Definitely made me smile at times, and I certainly had a hard time turning it off at parts when I was finished with my run.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer PARIS, TX, United States 02-03-14
    Amazon Customer PARIS, TX, United States 02-03-14 Member Since 2008

    Lawyer, reader, writer, performer. Just love listening to books and talking about it!

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    "Move over Grendel's Mother and the Weird Sisters!"

    Why do I keep thinking of a boy Matilda or Beowolf on steroids with a bit of Narnia and the Weird Sisters built in? Or maybe it is a bit like Big Fish, only with witches. And I can't figure out the appropriate age. Is it for adults? Is it for pre-teens? Maybe it is just for anyone with a good old imagination.

    An adult man returns to the street of his childhood, and soon tells you of a come of age adventure that revs into the impossible. Turns and twists with high fantasy drama and good verses evil, and high anticipation. The monster really does remind me of Grendel’s mother with some cool contemporary twists sans Grendel. And the witches are a threesome. If that floats your boat, pick this up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jen LODI, CA, United States 02-01-14
    Jen LODI, CA, United States 02-01-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Odd but amazing!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Ocean at the End of the Lane to be better than the print version?

    I think the Audible version and the print version were just as good.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The concept of someone giving their life for you, or sacrificing in any way for you, and then determining if it was worth it, and if you had done something meaningful with your life is awesome.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel NEWPORT BEACH, CA, United States 01-28-14
    Joel NEWPORT BEACH, CA, United States 01-28-14 Member Since 2011

    Joel Szerlip

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    "The Story at the End of the Lane"

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the second Neil Gaiman book I've read. The first was American Gods which I got around a quarter of the way through and gave up. I loved the concept of the book but just couldn't get into it. I wasn't ready to give up on Neil Gaiman as so many of my friends and fellow readers seem to love his writing and had great things to say about this novel.

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane is different then any other novel I've read before. First its closer to a short story then a novel. There isn't a ton of character development, and the story just jumps in and asks you to go along for the ride. I'm going to avoid talking much about the story because its really hard to explain, but in short it reminds me of a childhood fantasy novel with major adult overtones.

    I enjoyed The Ocean at the End of the Lane but it still wasn't my cup of tea. I'm not sure I'll be going back to the Neil Gaiman library anytime soon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tamara 01-27-14
    Tamara 01-27-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Like reading a book for English class"

    There are pros and cons about this book.

    The writing is quite nice, evoking strong imagery throughout. My main complaint is that was tough to listen to the mid-part of the book, which essentially focused on the *abuse* of a child. I almost gave up on the book, but things turned around just in time.

    Mostly I'm left feeling that I just don't get it. There's not much of a story here. If it's taken as straight fantasy, then it's not the least interesting in terms of developing an interesting world. It it's an allegory, it's too complicated for my simple mind. Truly, many a master's thesis will be written about this book. If I could just fully understand the cats, I'd be happy.

    The book is read by the author himself. The reading was well done except that the author sounds exactly like Liam Neeson. That drove me a little nuts!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan WEST CHESTER, OH, United States 01-26-14
    Susan WEST CHESTER, OH, United States 01-26-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Well-written quick read"

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane was recommended to me by one of my friends, and by Amazon because I liked Night Circus. So I gave it a try.

    The beginning was a little slow but once the story started, it really got hold of me. Fortunately the book is relatively short because I started getting annoyed whenever I got interrupted. That's when I know I have a good book.

    Themes like innocence, regret, the flawed nature of humans, mercy, and sacrifice woven into the story very naturally.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but I'm withholding that 5th star primarily because there are so many loose ends, like whose funeral he is attending. (Or did I miss that? I listened to the beginning 3 times ...)

    I liked it. I recommend it. Well written, doesn't get it its own way, good, creative story.

    Oh - and the narration was outstanding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly Indianapolis, IN, United States 01-20-14
    Kimberly Indianapolis, IN, United States 01-20-14 Member Since 2015

    I enjoy historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Also steampunk, sci-fi, fantasy, suspense, and fiction. I'm open to about anything

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    "Luscious. Beautiful. Smooth. Wine for the soul."

    Setting: Sussex, England 1960s
    Genre: magical realism
    Narration: I have had problems in the past with authors reading their own work, but Neil Gaiman does a wonderful job of it. The book is not really appropriate for dramatization, so it's fine that it's a "read the story" performance.
    This book is visceral and evocative. It is first person singular from a man's point of view as he remembers the Spring he was 7 years old. The vocabulary and sentence structure are appropriate to the adult, yet you will have no problem getting it through the child's eyes. The words are magic, and they will bring the fantastic to your imagination. This book is literary without being ponderous.
    Worth a credit and the time? Yes! But I suggest you listen in a way that you'll be able to give attention to the book, so probably not good for commuting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Skaneateles, NY, United States 01-17-14
    John Skaneateles, NY, United States 01-17-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Good writing, poor story."

    This is my second Gaiman book. I really disliked American Gods but thought I would give him another try, mainly because a lot of other readers love his work. I was hoping to love it too, but I did not.

    I do like his writing and the imagery he paints. I can picture scenes in my head quite vividly. I like the characters and the dialogue as well. He is marvelous as a narrator.

    It is just the story, or lack thereof. It is just rather bizarre fantasy without any direction or point. Maybe there is a point buried in there somewhere but I didn't get it. This seems to be fantasy just for the sake of fantasy, not a real story.

    It reminded me of someone telling be about a very weird dream they had the night before. It may be interesting to them but I always find those recountings boring and silly, kind of like this book..

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
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  • Amazon Customer
    Oslo, Norway
    12/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful"
    Where does The Ocean at the End of the Lane rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Quite high up!


    What other book might you compare The Ocean at the End of the Lane to, and why?

    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... :)


    What does Neil Gaiman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    There's something special about authors reading their own books, particularly when they do it as well as Gaiman does.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. I almost did.


    Any additional comments?

    Time and time again Neil Gaiman shows what an good writer he is. This is no exception.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sharon
    Seigneux, Switzerland
    2/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Neil Gaiman is brilliant"
    What made the experience of listening to The Ocean at the End of the Lane the most enjoyable?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    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.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    How to know and then forget everything.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    9/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldn't put it down"
    What did you like most about The Ocean at the End of the Lane?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Justin Coyne
    8/27/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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