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
The author's voice elevates this from a well-turned tale to a delicious experience. This story was written by Mr. Gaiman as a gift for his wife. The story is a mystical retelling of bits and pieces from his youth. This lights the environment and the narrator's tone with a nostalgia and a reverence.
There is a birthday party at the outset of the book that sets out who the child is in stark terms. He is the awkward kid that (I suppose) we all were, deep inside.... I certainly felt pangs of painful recognition.
Whenever the protagonist is cold and alone and frightened and petulant... he is also brave and absolutely believable.
This book would be the perfect accompaniment to a warm and lazy Sunday afternoon... the sort where you don't need to be anywhere for dinner and don't particularly mind if you get anything done.
This is absolutely not for kids. Once you are about 30 minutes in the details become very direct and you don't want to have to talk to the kids about it.
What a dreadful book. A little boy encounters strange supernatural beings who try to either kill him or rescue him. I kept waiting for an epiphany, a moment of discovery about life — the boy's life, or some person's life. That is, a real person, not an ethereal substance masquerading as a person. At no time was there any POINT to the story; it just rambled with long descriptive passages about shapes and light. While the narrator kept reminding us that "I was only 7 years old," he had a most unusual gift of memory and attention to detail. What 7-year-old do you know who can remember what he ate for breakfast, much less details about peculiar events that he doesn't understand? At just under six hours, the book dragged on for what seemed longer than the 7-year-old's entire life.
Neil Gaiman breathes the life into these characters and it is obvious that they are all his babies.
the fact that Gaiman puts the world and characters he creates directly into my mind and I live there while I'm listening to his books. He should ALWAYS read his books. The story, although harsh, is incredibly fragile....and another narrator might have missed this....
Yes, and it is his usual brilliant self.
I was scared.....this book walked the line of what I feel is scary.... my scary comes from a place of childhood, so childhood scary for me is always the worst part. That's where this book comes from. I am happy to report that this level of scary was perfect, as I didn't have a single bad dream or try to scare myself with Ursula at night before I went to bed, which means it was the perfect level of scary for me. (oh, I am a 52 year old child when it comes to scary.)
I miss the characters already. I wanted to make sure that everyone was ok by the end of the book. I wanted to make sure that the visits kept happening to farm.....
Avid reader/antiquarian book collector with long commutes...LOVES Whispersync!
I would absolutely listen to this version of the audiobook again. It's always a treat to hear an author read his/her work the very way they intended it to be. Gaiman's voice infuses to that extra bit of wonder into the words and really helps the reader obtain the full experience.
Gaiman wrote a short story titled The Troll Bridge, which was featured in Angels and Visitations as well as M is for Magic. I liken the "feel' of the stories; I don't feel that there is any sense of repetition, rather, one gets the same sense of emptiness, wonder, surrender, and full conceptualisation...if that makes any sense at all.
I have, and I fell in love with this piece as it seems wildly personal. That he drew from his own recollections as a child really shines through in such a brilliant way, as it was uncomfortably easy to slip into the headspace of a seven year old child and to really fully identify with the adult in his 40's attempting to correctly recall these very fragmented aspects of his childhood and trying to decipher what was real...and what is "real," anyway? I felt that the imagery painted made me think of the movie MirrorMask. I could certainly image if Dave McKean were to add his art to this book. :)
I really don't know.
This was such a wonderful read/listen. My only complaint is that I did not want it to end so very soon. I own the hard copy of this book, but I recommend having Mr. Gaiman guide you through this story even if you've already read it. Hearing him read his work is always a treat,but this one in particular was just fantastic. I'm not sure if it was becuase he spent time researching and remembering his own childhood in order to write this, but hearing him read this seemed to add a certain other sort of magic.
Thrilling, enchanting, magical.
The development of the characters. He's a master at creating characters who are believable, and making you love or hate them, as appropriate.
He's got such a great voice for this sort of thing, and he's the perfect type of author to perform his own work. He captures all the magic of the cones, and he understands the world he's created, so he delivers lines appropriate to the scenes.
Yes; couldn't though. Might give it a shot in the future.
I'm not usually in for shorter fiction books on Audible, but I'm glad I got this one. It didn't disappoint.
I like to listen while I exercise, do housework, knit, etc., so I usually prefer a light read for an audiobook.
The writing. Neil Gaiman is an excellent author. He also has great insight into what it was like to be a kid.
This is a short book but a little gem.
Neil Gaiman tells a wonderful story about a man looking back to a period that was filled with magic in his boyhood.
Neil Gaiman's descriptions of the Hamstocks and their home and farm are so vivid that they make you feel as if you are right there with them in their cozy, farmhouse kitchen. Neil's voice and descriptions have led me to listen to this book several times.
I am a working mom who loves to squeeze in listening to books while walking, doing chores or commuting.
No. It was a pointless book.
I have no favorite. The entire book was senseless make believe.
The man who committed suicide.
The ratings seemed to indicate that this book was worth reading, so I tried it. It was a terrible waste of time and money. I am not sure why people are entertained by pointless fantasy, but I found the entire book boring. The author is a pretty good narrator though, so I cannot complain about that.
I feel bad giving this a 4* for story. It's just that it's on a Gaiman Scale. It's not my favorite of his books. On an absolute scale, it is definitely a 5*. His grocery lists probably are worth at least 3* on an absolute scale.
The story is the adventure tale we probably all wish that had happened to us when we were kids. Something exciting that initiates us into the world of adults, instead of the boring and slightly horrible way it happens to most of us.
As for narration, I pretty much want Neil Gaiman to come to my house every night and read me a story.
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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