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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 (5410 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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Overall
4.2 (4990 )
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Story
4.5 (4985 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (380)
2 star
 (98)
1 star
 (81)
Performance
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  •  
    Marilyn Horan NYC 07-23-13
    Marilyn Horan NYC 07-23-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    9
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Good story goes bad"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who like fantasy and who can put up with time travel and such nonsense. People who liked "The Time Traveler's Wife" would like it.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator was the same as the author and it seemed prideful of him to do his own narration. An outside narrator could have found more nuance in the reading.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Ocean at the End of the Lane?

    The part in which we hear that the protagonist has already returned to the house several times. Huh? Also, the lady in the sky coming to take him. Also, the circle, etc. Silly.


    Any additional comments?

    I couldn't distinguish among the grandmother, mother, and daughter. The author not only wrote the book and narrated it, but then told us how so many of his friends made suggestions. I wish they had suggested a coherent story.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc SANTA FE, TEXAS, United States 08-21-13
    Marc SANTA FE, TEXAS, United States 08-21-13

    iwannawaterski

    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
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    61
    11
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    2
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    "Neil Gaiman should keep his day job"

    Neil's narration is amaturish and so terrible I could not listen to this book. Why author's insist on reading their own work without the skill required to do so astounds me.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon "Snow book" Los Angeles, CA 08-01-13
    Sharon "Snow book" Los Angeles, CA 08-01-13 Member Since 2012

    snow book

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    6
    6
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    Story
    "Not as I expected"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The publisher's review didn't prepare me for a fantasy and I don't usually enjoy fantasy novels especially when I'm not expecting it.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Neil Gaiman again?

    Possibly.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    I would have given this book overall one star but...it is well written and the author's narration was excellent. This wasn't what I was expecting so I had trouble getting into the fantasy aspect. I do have to admit that I stopped listening about half way through as I couldn't get past one particular chapter in the book. (I won't go into detail on that as those who have already read the book probably know the chapter and I don't want to spoil it for others.) I'm sure that if I had finished the book I would understand the author's point that seeing the dead body in the car triggered a very dark fantasy in this little boy's mind. Since this is MY review, I get to write that I hated the subject matter. Stuff of childhood nightmares isn't something that I choose to read for enjoyment or education.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy College Station, TX, United States 01-24-15
    Timothy College Station, TX, United States 01-24-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    100
    ratings
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    54
    52
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    9
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    Story
    "Not Gaiman's best, but still pretty good."

    In terms of Gaiman's other books, this book is along the lines of Coraline and The Graveyard Book. However, I would rank this one at the bottom of those three (Coraline would be at the top).

    It does have a couple of "adult" scenes though, so I'm not sure if this was intended to be a "young adult" novel or not.

    It's not bad. It's just not great, and when I pick up Gaiman, I expect great.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 01-24-14
    Susan 01-24-14

    This is my granddaughter's picture! She is my love.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
    ratings
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    206
    40
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    4
    3
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    Story
    "Some Will Like This, I wasn't One of Them"

    If it hadn't been for the performance of the narrator, I wouldn't have finished this book. I like relationships over time, but not those that deal with spirits and ghosts. It wasn't what I expected.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trish United States 10-10-13
    Trish United States 10-10-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Oddest & creepiest thing I've read in a long time"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    nothing


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    In creepiness? NO


    Do you have any additional comments?

    This seemed more like a child's creepy fairy tale. Hardly an adult read, and even the story was ODD. That's the only word I have for it, odd

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jestans Chicago, Illinois 08-18-13
    jestans Chicago, Illinois 08-18-13 Member Since 2012

    jestans

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    64
    2
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    0
    0
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    Story
    "Not What I Was Expecting"

    This story wasn't at all what I was expecting. Its fanciful and almost sci-fi. I was expecting a mystery of some kind, but not the impossible. I enjoyed it, but didn't love it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jake McKracken San Francisco, ca United States 08-16-13
    Jake McKracken San Francisco, ca United States 08-16-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    240
    4
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    0
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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
    124
    ratings
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    316
    65
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    1
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    Story
    "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 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    52
    30
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    0
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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
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