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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

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  •  
    pamela Los Angeles 07-20-13
    pamela Los Angeles 07-20-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Mysterious and fun"
    What made the experience of listening to The Ocean at the End of the Lane the most enjoyable?

    This is an excellent book to listen to and the author's voice, melodic and even a bit dreamy, is the perfect choice for the reading. The book is an easy book to visualize with both tangible and intangible events coming to life.


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend this book as a great summer read. The author takes you on an other world journey, mysterious and sometimes whimsical. The story takes place in a world very real with all of it's boring details and characters with mixed up, good and bad intentions, matched with a world where what we know to be true is suspended and twisted with characters who are genuine and consistent in goodness and evil. I found myself wanting to hear more of the story in the end.

    Great book by Neil Gaiman.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessie Raleigh, New Caledonia 07-19-13
    Jessie Raleigh, New Caledonia 07-19-13 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    "Maybe just not my thing..."

    I'm clearly in the minority here, but this book just didn't do it for me. Not that it didn't have some great aspects, and good moments. But most of my audiobooks get me looking forward to my commute so I can listen. For this one, it was more a matter of getting it over with so I can move on to my next book. Felt longer than 5 hours!

    I hadn't heard of Neil Gaiman before I heard an interview with him on NPR. It's possible I was biased by that interview- he spoke with great confidence about how writers should be able to write any style, with the implication that he does, and does so very well. So I went in with very high hopes. (Always a mistake.)

    He does do a good job capturing some of the mystery, wonder, magic, and confusion of childhood. And I always like it when authors narrate their own work- you know they're conveying what they meant. But i just never felt myself rooting for the character. It occurs to me only now what the problem might have been- I had heard the radio interview and knew that voice as a confident, internationally recognized writer. Maybe that's why i couldn't connect with it/him as a 7-year-old protagonist?

    I may still seek out his other works- he's clearly a very talented writer. Maybe I'll just read the next one, instead of listening to the audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Simpsonville, SC, United States 07-19-13
    Mary Simpsonville, SC, United States 07-19-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Magic, melancholy, inventive story."
    Would you listen to The Ocean at the End of the Lane again? Why?

    Already listened to it twice. Loved the aura of the story


    What did you like best about this story?

    Unique


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Meeting the women in the farm kitchen.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Where imagination and reality meet, heroes come in unexpected guises.


    Any additional comments?

    Modern adult fairytale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard D. Shewman Erie, PA United States 07-18-13
    Richard D. Shewman Erie, PA United States 07-18-13 Member Since 2001

    rshewman

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Experiencing the ocean of a master storyteller"

    Has their ever been a Neil Gaiman story that hasn't been magical, opening the doors to the reality that is behind the nundane surface world we think we inhabit? If so, I haven't found it yet. Ocean is another work of word magic and imagination that transforms the world and makes it exciting and mysterious. My biggest frustration with the book is that it comes to an end eventually.

    It is the story of a seven year old boy who stumbles into contact with the world behind the world as a result of the foolishness of a wandering spirit who finds its way into rural 1960's England. It is a story of magic, memories, nightmares, buried fears and wonder. It is similar in some respects to Coraline but then not...

    The book is narrated by Gaiman who does a fine job as the teller of his own story. His reading of the tale helps to draw you into it. It adds to the experience, a talent that is rare in many authors who attempt to narrate stories they have written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Chicago, IL, United States 07-18-13
    Rachel Chicago, IL, United States 07-18-13 Member Since 2004

    Chicagoan. Natural redhead. Happy mama of a corgi and a blue crown conure.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narration by the Author is the best!"

    So happy that Neil Gaiman decided to narrate this novel himself. His creepy tone emphasized just the right parts that you know he was thinking when he wrote it. The story keeps you intrigued and I really liked the ending. At under six hours, it's a super easy "read", but one that keeps you thinking about it long after you are done listening.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandra BELLEFONTE, PA, United States 07-17-13
    Alexandra BELLEFONTE, PA, United States 07-17-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Dark whimsy, primal terror, and nostalgia"

    An absolutely spellbinding book read by the author himself, which means all the emphasis, timbre, and rhythm of the story is right where it should be when read out loud! Gaiman tells a tale that is straight out of a child's head, where fantasy and reality blend into a fog. Sometimes it gets hard to tell where one begins and the other ends, but the emotions remain as crisp and raw as my own memories, something Gaiman definitely excels at capturing in his prose. He shapes these moments of absolute terror and dark whimsy that make up the world of the child, then reveals terrible truths understood from the point of view of young innocence. It transforms chaotic events that would send the story's adults screaming into the night into dissociative dream-like apparitions, and seemingly innocuous moments into ones that tear at the heart with the weight of the world.

    Along with American Gods, Anansi Boys, and the Graveyard Book, it just goes to show that Gaiman, intentionally or not, manages to turn tales which are obviously fiction into something a little too close to home that hit the innermost mark of reality without flinching. If you aren't having a bit of nostalgia by the end-- smiling through the tears and aching to bleed through into the country where an ocean exists at the end of the lane-- then it's no doubt Miss Monkton got to you! This book is exceptionally crafted and one I will return to again and again for different meanings as I continue to "grow up."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie Morningstar Orem, UT 07-16-13
    Jamie Morningstar Orem, UT 07-16-13 Member Since 2011

    jstar

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    "Fantastic performance, magical book"
    What did you love best about The Ocean at the End of the Lane?

    Hearing Neal Gaiman narrate - I love (love!) hearing a talented author narrate his own work. It's like you get to tap straight into the characters.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Lettie, of course. Who doesn't want to be a magic girl godling queen forever?


    If you could take any character from The Ocean at the End of the Lane out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Grandmother - she's got to have some stories to tell!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mercedes Quilmes, Argentina 07-16-13
    Mercedes Quilmes, Argentina 07-16-13 Member Since 2011

    Graphic designer and University professor. I love comics and to be always learning something new!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So well written and captivating!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have already recomend it to everyone who loves novels that won't let you go!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    the girl and her Ocean... amazing don't want to spoiler anything


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

    his amazing narrative, so visual, so intense, the characters are always unique...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorinda MONTGOMERY, AL, United States 07-16-13
    Lorinda MONTGOMERY, AL, United States 07-16-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Boring!!"
    What disappointed you about The Ocean at the End of the Lane?

    This story was very dull. I got it because it was on the bestseller list. Won't trust that again.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Neil Gaiman again?

    No.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Performance was fine.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Mowczan Wilmington, DE USA 07-16-13
    K. Mowczan Wilmington, DE USA 07-16-13 Member Since 2009

    Kathy M

    ratings
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    4
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    Story
    "Enchanting"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it was lovely. It's magical, it's not necessarily a happy book but it was so well written and the story was just charming.


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

    Reminiscent of Harry Potter, Narnia Books,


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I'm not sure that I can say, but I did so enjoy the ending. which is a ery big deal for me.


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

    No extreme reaction but it was a very good take you away from your troubles book


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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