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
Neil Gaiman does a marvelous job reading his own work, which certainly adds character to the story.
The plot however, cannot compare to that of his other works, such as Coraline or American Gods. It is, in my opinion, all too ambitious; attempting to convey magnificent and mysterious events. However, the story falls flat and loses itself in grand, but ultimately empty words.
It should be noted that I consider myself a Gaiman-fan, but this novel did not impress.
Neil Gaiman should narrate every audiobook. What a fantastic story.
It was perfection, start to finish.
He IS the book.
Oh yes, Neil Gaiman's voice is so hypnotic and wonderful, so perfectly suited to a magical story such as this.
The pivotal scene between father and son. It's both thrilling and terrifying and it's a turning point for our main character to fight for his life and for who he is.
This is the first Gaiman performance I've listened to but I'm going to go back and listen to the others as I find his writing and his performances incredibly entertaining.
Maybe "The Fog of Memories"
Told from the perspective of a 7 year old boy, this is, at times, a dark tale where reality and fantasy
merge in that unending fight between good and evil.
There is no doubt that this book exudes Lyrical picturesque prose, but when it comes right down to it there
is not much story.
Personally I'm not a fan of Neil Gaiman narrating his own books. He has a sing-song way of speaking which
turns the narrative into something close to a poem. Its just a bit over the top for me.
I listen to a bit of everything. Mostly Fantasy and paranormal romance with my wife. Along with mysteries/thrillers, even some sci-fi.
I will say the best thing(s) I liked about this book were it's length, and Gaiman's narration. The book was a perfect length to tell the story. It never feels like the story drags, and always keeps the listener looking ahead. Neil's dulcet tones are an excellent compliment to the story. As for what I liked least, and it's not that I disliked it, but it's the story itself. It didn't grab me at all. The childhood fantasy and wonderment were great along with the terror from the conflict, but it didn't affect me in any way.
I think the most interesting aspect had to do with the Hempstock family. Their mystery was easily the most entertaining aspect of the story for me. The Hempstocks were entertaining and seeing all three generations of them with their different experiences and philosophies and still have the same goals in mind was a good take on the generational divide, and lets us feel that just because we're different ages, doesn't mean one way is better than another.
I think the biggest inspiration Gaiman can give to someone who reads this tale is the reflection of their childhood and the fondness and wonderment of it.
This is challenging for me. I had a hard time identifying with the protagonist. His experiences weren't like anything I experienced growing up. I had friends and we had experiences and created our own worlds, but I didn't have babysitters, was an only child and had friends. I think if I could relate to our main character, this would have been a lot more powerful of a story. Instead, it's a good story that I could use to reflect upon my childhood and growth to adolescence and adulthood.
I'm not a literature major. But I can tell you that this is not mere writing, it is a full-imersion plunge into the language and experience of dreams and nightmares. Gaiman miraculously and masterfully managed to explore the terror only a child's imagination can experience, while managing to hold us, if barely, safe. I would call this transcendent writing. It rose above the requirements of good mechanics. This is art, in which the reader is conscious only of the world the writer has created, not of the writer or his craft. Wonderful!
I bought this audio book so long ago, I no longer remembered what made me buy it. But it sat there in my library waiting for so long that I finally put it in my queue just because it was still there. When I first started to listen to it, I became angry with myself when I realized that upon buying this book I had carelessly violated one of my basic audio book rules...don't buy an audio book read by its' author!!
Well, I have never been SO happy because of a mistake! This is an absolutely captivating book, read exquisitely well by the author!!! His voice immediately captures your attention and transports you completely into the book! It's a book that will stay in your thoughts long after you've finished it!
Truly wonderful !
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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