Winner of the Specsavers National Book Award for The Audible Audiobook of the Year
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying, and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark - from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman.
It's about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. It began for our narrator 40 years ago, when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed.
Dark creatures from beyond this world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and a menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.
Contains a special introduction from Neil Gaiman
©2013 Neil Gaiman (P)2013 Headline Digital
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I went into this having enjoyed Stardust and Neverwhere, so hardly a huge Neil Gaiman reader. At first it read like a quaint fairy story, certainly pleasant and engaging but not something I could see myself raving about. By the end I came to seriously rate this as one of the best novels I have listened to in years. The depiction of childhood, specifically isolation, fear and wonder as experienced by a child was totally captivating. The final sequence and epilogue played out like a C S Lewis allegory, but like the best Lewis books, never over plays it or comes to obvious conclusions. My only criticism is Neil Gaiman's delivery. Now, I do like his reading but having listened to him read 3 of his books in the space of 12 months I am a little too used to his phrasing and delivery. He has a very distinctive speech pattern and tends to use the same accent for every character. I am not someone who believes that the author is the best person to read their work and would rather Gaiman handed the reigns to a professional reader for future stories. As it is whilst I intend to explore the rest of his work on audible, having discovered that I have a tolerance threshold for his reading style has put me off going on a Gaiman audio book binge. But none the less this is a brilliant story and well worth a listen.
Out of the Silent Planet. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
No. His regional accents are quite lacking and many characters sound the same.
Very much. I felt anxious for the main character and experienced a surprised delight during the final sequence.
An excellent novel. An underwhelming reading but none the less an essential purchase for any fantasy reader or fan of Gaiman's other work.
"Not up to his usual standard"
I would probably recommend this but with the proviso that it is not as good as his other work.
I will certainly read Gaiman's work again. I normally find his work very enjoyable.
Good story teller.
I'm glad I listened to this book but I found myself wanting MUCH more from it - more depth and more of the adult character coming through.
I had been looking forward to this book but I came away disappointed. This was supposed to be Gaiman's return to adult fiction but I found the wonderful Graveyard Book more adult than this. It felt like he was retreading very familiar ground and I felt there was no sense of the adult narrator. It may as well have been told throughout from the child's point of view because the adult point of view was never really explored. I know I am in the minority with this opinion because most of Gaiman's fans seem to love this book and I feel I have missed something along the way. I think I'd better get out his wonderful Hellblazer story 'Hold Me' to remind myself what a true talent he is because this book just didn't do it for me.
I'm one of those people who think Gaiman is a well above average fantasy author but not the superstar he seems to be regarded as in some quarters. And this is not one of his better books.
To begin with, Ocean was what I hoped it would be: an adult's remembrance of a child's perspective. We get nostalgic reminders of TV shows such as "How?", and the worldview of an intelligent child who applies logic well but has insufficient experience to base it on.
The book took a downturn once the fantasy elements got underway and dominated the book. I found this aspect surprisingly generic and twee. We have the mundane child saying how he thinks the world is (and getting it basically right) and the magic folk reply along the lines of, "Bless you, what a strange idea!" I didn't mind when this sort of thing happened in Harry Potter (and many other works) because we fairly quickly got an idea of how the magical world worked. But here it's all disjointed and seemingly random. For instance, kittens grow in a field like vegetables, an idea some people might find endearing, but it doesn't add up to anything.
Here, the lack of a sense of how the magical world works made this a very unengaging book. Some participants mean harm, others are out to protect the child but we never really know any of their strengths, their limitations or even their motivation, and most events seem to be reversible anyway.
It also doesn't help that the boy takes a very passive role throughout most of the book. Initially he shows some courage and initiative when he's dealing with a mundane (and quite unsettling) threat, but once he's in the magical world he does little besides berate himself for letting go of someone's hand - a trope I find very tiresome.
"odd intriguing tale."
An odd intriguing tale seen through the eyes of youth. Thought provoking and playful but also quite dark and harrowing at times. Its in my top 100.
Although narrated by Geiman, I found this really really boring and difficult to keep my intrest.
Birds, a worm and an Ocean (?) ... blah!
"Now a Gaiman fan!"
brilliant story, kept me hooked till the end. now queue another story by the same author.
A wonderfully creepy tale, beautifully told with elegant prose and a perfect blend of both magical and macabre moments. The experience is even more enhanced by Gaiman's narration, his performance nuanced and professional, while still keeping his unique voice. A joy to listen to.
A story told the old fashioned way, pure delight from start to finish. I was transported back in time and was able to relive the experience of hearing a new fairy tale for the first time.
"A great read!"
I Was recommended this book due to my love of fantasy fiction and it didn't disappoint. Off to download my next Gaiman book now!
"Outstanding and original story - as expected from Neil Gaimon"
likes and dislikes:
Not often I can say I liked everything, but I did. I liked the narrative, the characters, the originality, the fact that it was exactly the right length for my journey from South England to the North and kept me entertained the whole way without even minor irritation at traffic jams and hold-ups!
Did I dislike anything... Just that there wasn't more of it. My kids were in the car and they were enthralled the whole journey, not one fight broke out. Now that really is magic!
Who would I recommend this to?
Any fan of Neil Gaimon or anyone who likes a good story that doesn't spend 20 minutes describing the colour of the sky. You could get right into this and love it from the beginning.
Why is rated 5*
Because it was, for me, a five star listen. So often I find myself drifting out and needing to whizz back 10 minutes here and there but not with this. Simply loved listening to a book told as it was meant to be by the author
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