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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel | [Neil Gaiman]

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

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. 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. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (4983 )
5 star
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4.2 (4608 )
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4.5 (4596 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jake McKracken San Francisco, ca United States 08-16-13
    Jake McKracken San Francisco, ca United States 08-16-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "A story where nothing much happens"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A better story


    What could Neil Gaiman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Neil Gaiman often tells stories which have a new idea or two within them, beautifully presented like chocolates in a fancy box. I'm afraid that this is just not one of them. A man reminiscing about something mystical that happened to him a long time ago that he never really understood and won't remember after he leaves.... it just didn't keep me interested.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The one scene where the youngest fate forces an ocean into a bucket and brings it to the main character's location sticks in my mind, but only vaguely.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    His prose and performance were as wonderful as always, but it was a bit like opening a beautiful chocolate box to find nothing within it.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Arlington, VA, United States 07-31-13
    Sandra Arlington, VA, United States 07-31-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Really? For Adults?"

    I get the metaphorical aspects - growing up, loss of innocence, tried and true story theme. But this comes no where close to what I would expect for a book enthused by so many readers as "adult." Want to read young adult books that speak to adults, try "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Åhman Spånga, Sweden 07-22-13
    Robin Åhman Spånga, Sweden 07-22-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Not his best work"
    Would you try another book from Neil Gaiman and/or Neil Gaiman?

    I have read/listened to all of his books, and I will listen to the next one he writes, without a doubt.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Neil Gaiman? Why or why not?

    I love many of his books and he always delivers good material. So I can count on him to write great books.


    What about Neil Gaiman’s performance did you like?

    I love his voice, and the fact that he reads his own book makes it better. He has a calm way of reading to you. It is very comforting.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    I think so, but there are other books by him that I think should be made into movies instead.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Coftse 07-19-13
    Coftse 07-19-13

    I am immortal ....so far. I enjoy a god story and love a great narrator. :-)

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    "Wonderful story to bad they let author narrate"

    I would recommend the story for its fanciful tale of a child and the mysteries of the universe. The narration ehh not the worst but so could have been better.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carmen 07-17-13
    carmen 07-17-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is a Children's book"
    What made the experience of listening to The Ocean at the End of the Lane the most enjoyable?

    I think this book placement was misleading and should have been placed in Children's literature and I would NOT have purchased it.

    This is a tough review because while I found the book beautiful, well written and well read....I was bored and it wasn't to my interest or what I was expecting. I thought the story would intertwine the thoughts of the child and his experiences with his grown-up self. Instead, the book, in almost it's entirety, went on and on about a fantastical- science fictionist type events that occurred for a couple of days to a seven year old boy.
    Events so unbelievable and strange I might liken it to reading just a few chapters of Harry Potter. The book was short, just over five hours and I found it to be a waste of my credit:(



    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelsey GUERNEVILLE, CA, United States 07-17-13
    Kelsey GUERNEVILLE, CA, United States 07-17-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Not as good as expected"
    Any additional comments?

    This book got great reviews and I was so excited to read it. The narration was well done and the story does have some intrigue, but all in all I would not recommend it to a friend. I felt that there were clever bits scattered through out the plot and Neil Gaiman's use of magic is unique. Unfortunately, these positives are overshadowed by a lack of mystery, a lack of climax and the overall feeling that this book may be preferred by young adults.If you must read it, I would recommend buying a used paperback on Amazon and save your credit. The book is a short listen/read at only 5.5 hours.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Wilmington, NC, United States 07-09-13
    Janet Wilmington, NC, United States 07-09-13 Member Since 2012

    Divorce attorney needing a break from reality!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Layered, insightful, and still unique."
    What did you like best about this story?

    The analogy of the "hole in the heart" hit me in the heart. OF COURSE we all have a hole in our hearts that can never be filled. Amazing.


    What does Neil Gaiman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    To this book, Neil Gaiman brings his own pacing, especially in the songs and rhymes. His accent adds that extra level of authenticity to the story that I would not have heard had I read it.


    If you could take any character from The Ocean at the End of the Lane out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I would love to take Gran from the book out to dinner. I would take her to a common, everyday restaurant. Listening to her accent and the interesting things she would say, especially about the people we may come into contact with, would be the real meal.


    Any additional comments?

    The layers in this book are so deep that it is like swimming in an ocean. I will need to listen to it again from start to finish to sink a little deeper as I feel I only skimmed the surface.

    Dive in!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marg224 07-03-13
    Marg224 07-03-13

    keep on keepin on

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it!"
    Would you listen to The Ocean at the End of the Lane again? Why?

    Yes, it was filled with such wonderful descriptions that I may have missed a bit the first time.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Letty. She has such wisdom and calmness and she was a good friend to the end.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene in the fairy ring.


    If you could rename The Ocean at the End of the Lane, what would you call it?

    Trust your Instincts.


    Any additional comments?

    Loved it, loved it, loved it. Wished it was a bit longer, but, it was great. Would have almost called this a short story versus a novel and I probably would not have bought it if it had not been for the reputation of the author; I have read most of his other novels and liked them as well.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl J. Bobrow 06-30-13
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    Story
    "Gaiman needed more time... to develope this tale.."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It is a horrific vision with a 7 year old getting the worst of the situation...


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The premise of trans-dimensional beings was good but why did things turn out the way they did when they have such wisdom and insight?


    Have you listened to any of Neil Gaiman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Gaiman does a great job narrating his tale. The story fell a little short. Wonderful author just didn't hit the mark.


    Do you think The Ocean at the End of the Lane needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Only if it reveals the underlying study of the Hempstock family existence


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States 06-25-13
    Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States 06-25-13

    i like to read. i like to listen.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gaiman Never Fails to Amaze and Delight!"

    this book was so stinking good. i found it to be the simplest book i've ever read by gaiman. its a quick and easy story full of magic and fantasy and it's thrilling in the way a gaiman book always is.

    i wasn't sure i'd like gaiman reading this book himself, but he was great. the best part of an author reading their own work is it truly is presented exactly as they envisioned it while writing...and in this case it was awesome.

    i also loved the stories' narrator. he told the story so perfectly in the memories of a man who was once an innocent and wide eyed boy tangled up in a world of magic and good and evil.

    Lettie was one of my favorite characters ever written by gaiman. she was old and young and wise and special. she was a perfect friend to our narrator. a tragic figure who sacrificed everything to protect him and his family...and actually, the world, too.

    i think that gaiman is the best author of adult fairy tales. hands down. he knows how to craft a story that any and every adult can sink their teeth into, and absolutely get lost in. i am not only amazed by his writing, but scared and creeped out and excited. though this story was short, (i always think the books i love are too short), it was packed full of greatness. and i loved every second of it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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