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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

4.2 (6464 )
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  •  
    Oakville Falls ROBBINSVILLE, NC, United States 12-10-13
    Oakville Falls ROBBINSVILLE, NC, United States 12-10-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Magical spiritual trip to childhood memories"
    If you could sum up The Ocean at the End of the Lane in three words, what would they be?

    Touching the mysteries of your long lost childhood


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Ocean at the End of the Lane?

    "Was it worth it" ( your life, that is)


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

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommend it. Great story. He captures the subtle elements of childhood I had forgotten. Very touching and inspiring. I don't want to give anything else away.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    webbwerx Seattle 12-01-13
    webbwerx Seattle 12-01-13 Member Since 2014

    Travis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It's very lite for Neil. Like die Gaiman."
    Where does The Ocean at the End of the Lane rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    My collection is too diverse to compare.


    Would you recommend The Ocean at the End of the Lane to your friends? Why or why not?

    Only if they were a Neil fan. I think if they were not familiar with his work this would not be the one I started them with.


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

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    It's not epic, but it is a good read. Perfect for a lazy long Sunday with tea.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audrey United States 11-30-13
    Audrey United States 11-30-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Good for a Lazy Weekend"

    Definitely worth listening to if you have a spare credit hanging around and are a Gaiman fan (and really, who isn't?) Reminded me of listening to "14" but Peter Clines-- incredibly original ideas, well crafted, slow paced.

    Also, Neil Gaiman does a really great old lady voice!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Madison, WI, United States 11-29-13
    Andrew Madison, WI, United States 11-29-13 Member Since 2004
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    "Neil Gaiman writes a Gaimanesq book"

    I liked this but it has the positives and negatives of most of Gaimans work. The mythology is interesting and the childs point of view effective but the characters have a strange sort of autistic feel similar to his other books. It's not that they don't have feelings, it's just that they feel more like animatroinc puppets than people.

    But that should not dissuade you unless you are new to Gaiman, if you are then you should read American Gods (the full cast recording) first as that is stronger and more fresh than this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Knoxville, TN, United States 11-19-13
    Linda Knoxville, TN, United States 11-19-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
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    3
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    "If you like Gaiman you will enjoy it"

    I know I am going to get slammed for this review. but this book kind of settled it for me. I am not a fan o Neil Gaiman's stories. Don't get me wrong the man is an EXCELLENT writer, and even narrator, but this is the third book of his I have tried and honestly the only one I have finished, I just don't like his type of story. Its not my cup of tea hence the 3 stars on story.

    I find it hard to even summarize the story, its a story really a memory of child, now grown up that keeps coming back down memory lane, its a story of magic and bad things, and at the same time its not, its a story about choices, and friends. It has a lot of good wisdom in it and for those that like these types of tales particularly Neil's telling of them they will love it.

    Its a short story at just over 5 hours so if you aren't sure if you will like Neil Gaiman, I would say this is an excellent one to start with and form your own opinion on. The man narrates it himself and I would ADORE hearing him narrate other books as he does a phenomenal job of it, he can really pull you in, even if you don't love the story you will get drawn into it by his voice.

    So all and all I would say give it a try, if you don't know if you like Neil Gaiman you may discover you do, if you do enjoy his stories you will certainly enjoy this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nana 11-17-13
    Nana 11-17-13
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    "Could not put the book down"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This was my first book by author Neil Gaiman,and after finishing this book in one sitting - I'm looking forward to reading his other books.

    He narrated the audiobook himself and did it brilliantly.

    Would recommend this book highly.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I liked the main protagonist, David. The wonder of children - and how we as adults often forget that life itself is in the everyday details which we maybe take for granted.


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

    First listen


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

    Without spoiling the story, I can say that about midways in the book I got angry with Davids father for his actions - in both rooms.


    Any additional comments?

    Looking forward to reading more from this storyteller :-)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Oakland, CA, United States 11-07-13
    Douglas Oakland, CA, United States 11-07-13 Member Since 2013
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    "One of his best!"

    I've been a Neil Gaiman reader since the nineties, and this might be his best work to date. I listen to audiobooks during my commute, so books that have a long, slow start tend to lose my interest. Not the case here. After a very brief introduction to the characters and the world, things get fascinating very quickly. And it's a fresh, surprising story, all the way through.

    Not only that, but Neil does a terrific job narrating his own work (which can't be said for all authors). He really brings each character to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arnfinn Bergen/Oslo, Norway 11-07-13
    Arnfinn Bergen/Oslo, Norway 11-07-13 Member Since 2013
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    "great story by a master storyteller"

    I chose to buy this book as an audiobook, and considered it a bonus that it was read by the author. I will try to bring out my thoughts, without giving away any spoilers. I expect that you've alredy read the summary by the publisher.

    Reading, or listening to this book, you will experience the horror and magic created by a series of events through the eyes and mind of the main character; a young boy. The point of view in the book, makes it impossible to say what part of the story that is real, and what is imagination, and this is what creates some of the magic. Those of you that has read earlier works by the author, will recognise his grasp of making everyday stuff magically as well as presenting a fantasy world you will recognise from the ordinary world around you. For those of you that hasn't read him, you will be in for a joyride, as he is not really comparable to many other authors.

    I have read most of Neil Gaimans books, but this is the first I've experienced in audio format. All the other books I've read by the author, has been read quite fast, and I've always felt that the stories has contained a self driven plot. Not fast like a thriller, but still a page turner, where you always have to read one more page to find out what happens next. It came as a surprise to me, that he himself presented the story in a much calmer slower way. This doesn't make the plot seem slow, bit it creates a certain effect, as he describes some of the horrors in the story, in a very calming and soothing way. It's very much like a pedagogue explaining something very complicated. For me this added another dimension to the story, that I haven't experienced with Neil Gaiman

    I give this book 5 stars, because I can't really find anything wrong with it. It gave me a great time, listening to it. The story is written and read by a litterary master beyond any genre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bokworm 11-03-13
    Bokworm 11-03-13 Member Since 2010
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    "A nice surpise"

    This book was a surprise. It was sweet, meaning it was very well written with fully loaded descriptions and sentence structures that left you feeling like it was prose but also poetic. In all senses it was a fully developed novel. Well presented. Well conceived. MMMMM Hard to explain--but recommend that this is a book that is read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walter 11-03-13
    Walter 11-03-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Genius"

    Neil Gaiman's best works are ostensibly about the supernatural, and this is no exception. The worlds and the characters he creates are truly magical, and that is reason enough to read and savor his books. But that's not all.

    I realized this when listening to The Ocean at the End of the Lane. His books are also about the exploration of the psyche -

    American Gods - a story about a man who doesn't know who he is.

    Anansi Boys - a story about a man who is incomplete, because he believes he is incomplete.

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane - a story about a man who cannot remember the most important thing about his own past.

    Each is the story of a man searching to become whole.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 191-200 of 336 results PREVIOUS119202134NEXT
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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
    Story
    "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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