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
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...
I love Neil Gaiman, and particularly in audio book
His themes are similar, with often the outsider or innocent hero.
The hero is often somehow at the threshold, I loved the children's view of adults and I love that there are Hemstocks loose in the world
Having been through a view I find they often strike a chord at the right time for me
Is likely to become a favorite. This book, in his own voice, goes with me when I travel. He spins an absorbing tale, summoning that Magic we wish we remembered from our own childhoods.
A note. Stories ABOUT children are not always FOR children. This one might give younglings some spooky dreams, so let the kids find it on their own... Is not a bedtime story for the very young.
I have not been a fan of writers reading their own works on Audible, but I was excited to give this book a try. I adore Neil Gaiman's writing and absolutely feel in love with his reading. His passion for the story drew me in and immersed me alongside the characters. I felt the terror of the main character and wished for my own "Lettie" to help me battle the monsters under my bed.
This is a book I will revisit simply for the pleasure of hanging out in the Hempstock kitchen or sitting near the ancient ocean in their backyard.
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