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.
"Interesting fantasy story"
This story was made far more interesting and engaging by being narrated by the author.
"A nice book"
I did like this book and the narration by Neil presents the story well. The fantasy is well told and hangs together pretty well on the whole. There are some slightly odd moments but nothing to detract from the tale.
"truly beautiful little tale."
A perfect example of Gaiman's ability to beautifully capture the imagination of childhood. This tale is told through adult eyes more painfully aware of action's consequences and Gaiman's narration carries the emotions through excellently.
"Not my kind of fiction"
A well crafted story but too detached for me. I couldn't engage with the characters and the storyline didn't really interest me very much.
"What's this? A fantasy that doesn't rely on pornography to be good? Wow!"
This is what I would describe as a conglomerate fantasy novel full of unoriginal ideas but well constructed and just for once, by an author at any rate, well enough read. I've given this book top rating just because at least if it proves anything it's the fact that a fantasy/horror can be just as good without needing to blur the lines between this genre and pornography and that's a good thing. Maybe other idiot horror so-called writers ought to try it some time but that's just wishful thinking.
This book reminded me of a lot of other books in the same genre. One called 'The Little Broomstick' springs to mind while reading this and also the boble oddly enough. The temptation of Christ in the wilderness. Also an old movie called 'The house that would not die' and an Algernon Blackwood story I think it was called 'The House in the Square'. So you see, not original but very well executed and well read. A few too many 'saids' for my taste but hey, don't they all do that?
"A weak fantasy"
I liked the nostalgia, though it does get bogged down in it endlessly. I liked least the plot, which was predictable, uninspired and subverted none of my expectations. Oh, and they had the ol' "this horrific noise coming from the monster that turned out to be laughing" which is a tired trope.
Steady, varied and smug (at times)
To go out and listen to a better audiobook after?
I should not that I'm not a huge fan of Gaiman anyway, but this was particularly bland and I'm surprised (though I shouldn't be) that fanboys and girls continue to tote it as the best thing since sliced bread. The truth is, there are many better fantasies out there, many better children's ones, and this one only skims the surface of why we loved this kind of fantasy as kids.
"A beautiful story"
This title was suggested to me and I'm glad I took the recommendation. This is a beautifully written story, full of amusing quirks and novelty, while being dark and gripping at the same time. I loved the principal characters and the subtle majesticness that hid behind the facade of utter normality.
I usually avoid audible books read by the author but Neil Gaiman has a lovely calming voice. There's nothing overwrought or overly proud in his narration.
A great read/listen!
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.
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