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 probably shouldn't really write a review because listening to a Neil Gaiman book is always a five star experience regardless of the story.
For those of you who desire the in-a-nutshell review, here is the short version: it was amazing!!
For those of you who enjoy details:
First of all, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was extremely well written. Neil Gaiman is a master with words and descriptions: he never blatantly tells you anything. Instead he shows you what he means through decadent description. Second of all, it's a different listening experience when the author himself is reading it to you. You know that it is being read in the right way, the way that the author intended it to be read. Third of all, the story is genius. Personally, I love fantasy, especially the kind that Gaiman weaves in this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed the plot. However, sometimes Gaiman crosses the line between "show, don't tell" and "say random things that make no sense and then don't explain them." Fourth, the characters are extremely interesting. Over the book you really grow to love and care for the main characters like Letty and her mother and grandmother. Similarly, the villains are just fascinating!!
All in all, this book was a home run for me and I would definitely listen to it again.
I was assigned this book for an upper level literature class and had no idea what to expect. The story is great and I bought the audio book in addition to the hard copy because I have a long commute. I quickly found out that Neil Gaiman is not only a very talented writer but also terrific at reading. I was mesmerised by his production of this audio book. I recommend to all!
So it's a fairytale told by the adult version of the child hero. It's a lot like Coralline except better. It's some of the best of our modern authorship. The best.
I, at first, was put off by Neil Gaiman's voice, which makes one feel like a man is reading to his children, but got used to it after a bit. The story was engaging until pretty near the end and then it fell flat for me. The epilogue was messy and didn't add anything to tie it together for me... I liked it overall, but didn't love it.
loved it. a beautiful mystical story of life, sacrifice, ancient wisdom, and the thread of time that binds us all to the beginning and together
As an avid Neil Gaiman fan, I now only listen to his books if he is also the narrator. His quirky writing is only amplified and better brought to life by his velvety and rich voice reminiscent of a young Alan Rickman.
Gaiman is a true literary artist, a wordsmith, and this book is honestly one of his best. Every time he sets out to write a book, I believe it is a children's book that is written for adults. Like He Graveyard Book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane evokes childish innocence and a textural beauty that can only be seen through a child's eyes. The struggle of fantasy and reality and the juxtaposition of what imagination is to an adult versus a child is the true artistry here and in most of Gaiman's darker works.
I loved the premise here. The tangled mess of memories and the knowledge of imagination and reality being completely intertwined make this fascinating and haunting. Gaiman doesn't shy away from dark topics and terror. He allows his characters to describe their fear and their shortcomings unabashedly and without apology. It makes them easily relatable.
This book was another that I had trouble walking away from even to go to work! I just loved the story and wanted to hear what came next. I would recommend this to anyone of any age, as long as they are past the point of overactive imagination that leads to nightmares. So for most people, around twelve or so, but for avid readers and artists with their heads in the clouds, twenty two. Or thirty depending...
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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