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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It doesn't get much better than having a great author narrate his own fabulous story. I just loved every minute of the story. A great listen. I sent the book to my daughter as a Halloween season read and she too, loved the story. Me, I like to listen so I can get lots of things done at the same time as I "read" a book, shameless multi-tasker that I am.
Lettie and the Hempstock family
Lettie. She is wise (way beyond her years), she's strong, confident, and follows through when she says something. She's compassionate and believes every creature has a place and that place should be respected.
The scene where Lettie walks up and saves the unnamed young man from Ursula. In this scene you witness the first glimpse of apprehension in Ursula.
There are times when I regret putting off reading (in this case listening) to a book, this is one of those. This book is enchanting and keeps the reader engaged the whole way through. I didn't even notice that the name of the young boy is NEVER mentioned, this is true for his family as well. Apparently names carry a lot of power in this novel.
This book is a great read, which I plan on buying for my daughter. I think she'll enjoy this and the strong female lead we get in young Lettie. I hope there is a sequel, I would love to know what happens to Lettie, does she ever return? Will she still be the same or will she grow? What becomes of the Hempstock homestead? So many questions, I'd love for Mr. Gaiman to answer in his next book.
designer and aritst
Neil Gaiman is my favorite writer. So, I read each new thing he does with a very open mind. But also with quite a lot of expectations. I'm happy to say he's yet to disappoint me. I find it impossible not to be taken in with what he writes. I suppose his ability to take a very real world and shine a light on the magical places JUST on the other side of it is a large part of it. His characters feel so real, even when they are fantastic. There is a lot of this that feels very personal, and that adds a lot of interesting shades and textures but does not color the actual story in a distracting way. If anything, it just made it easier for me to connect to the story. I think his work calls to that part of me that—despite being a very rational sort of person—still wants desperately to believe in those magical places... just on the other side of the door, at the edge of vision, in that cold little aching place in our heart, or at the end of the lane.
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