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
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.
Vividly imaginative story. Wonderfully written and performed by the author. Magical, terrifying, haunting, beautiful, and reminiscent of childhood.
In a heartbeat! There's more to this book, I do believe, than I could hear in the first listening ~ more magic.
Neil Gaiman's performance was absolutely perfect. If he didn't have a pretty good career going with the book-writing thing, he'd do just fine as a narrator; and when he is narrating his own books, nothing could be better!
I'd so lo more about the Hempstock women - there's a whole world to explore there!
Say something about yourself!
Sooooooooooo much better hearing the author read his own work to you. He is able to push the energy into the flow of words to aid in weaving the progression of images in ones own mind.
I listened to this audiobook while driving to and from patient houses. This is one of the most beautiful sounding books I've listened to/read. I went back and read it again. It's very lyrical, almost like a song. I have enjoyed all of the books I've read by Neil Gaiman. So far, this is my favorite.
I can't put my finger on why. I highly recommend this one.
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.
"In fear of Neil Gaiman's voice"
I was afraid to hear him read it himself because I already had a voice in my head that I attributed to him and I didn't want to be disappointed and find that my expectations had been too high. I have that fear no more. The story swept me away and his voice was the swell and ebb of the waves. Thank you sir for offering me a safe place of imagination .
Its an incredible story that could only possibly be improved by being narrated by the author himself.
I loved that I had not read anything about it beforehand so everything was a total surprise and such a treat. I loved the lush description of food throughout the story. It really brought you inside the story.
Having this narrated by the author seemed to add a richness to the story.
Yes - no spoilers!
"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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