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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"Childhood through adult eyes"
As a fan of Neil Gaiman's previous work, I approached this new novel with great interest as it promised to include more realism than usual. It's a short book, but it suits its length well – Gaiman has turned out a little gem.
The blending of fantasy and the real works well, but Gaiman is on firmer ground with his treatment of the fantastical as he lets his considerable imagination fly. The more realistic narrative by contrast seems to come from a less experienced author, but it is still solid and well written, so my impression is just that Gaiman is still not completely comfortable with writing about real things.
Gaiman's narration is excellent as always and I would highly recommend that readers give any of his audiobooks a try.
"Magical and beautiful, but without any sugar"
This novel creates a magical world set in memory and reality. The reader is invited into the world and explores it through the eyes of an accepting child. But it's not a saccharin tale, there is fear, insecurity and an ending which.... well, that would spoil things. A totally engaging listen.
"Short but wonderful"
The story is very well told and quite dark. Its quite a short audio book but so worth a listen and made all the more interesting by having Neil Gaiman read it. Well up to his usual standard.
"Dark and beautiful."
Neil Gaiman warns readers in his audio introduction that this tale is going to be dark and it is, much darker than his other stories that I have read. Without spoiling it I will say it is not unremittingly bleak or without hope, so I would advise against choosing not to read it, which I admit, I might have initially done had I known. If you watch films there are aspects here that remind me of both Studio Ghibli and Pan's Labyrinth.
Gaiman takes the reader into what first appears to be a comforting but normal environment, then quickly boots them out of the rabbit hole into somewhere far less safe but absolutely fascinating. The story is beautifully and imaginatively written, the characters interesting and varied and the plot was so good that I couldn't put it down.
This is admittedly a shorter book than some but in my opinion better value than many, as it is one I can see coming back to again and again.
Neil Gaiman readers with the talent of the best narrators and the enthusiasm and understanding of the story's author. There are a few narrators who could have done as good a job but I don't think anyone could have bettered his performance.
"Best book I've had for a while"
I've listened to some great audiobooks but this one ranks at the top.
Short and extremely memorable. I felt wrung out after reading this. And wanted to start again from the start!
Great performance. So heart felt and I was there with him.
"Easily the best listen I`ve had so far!"
The story is a terrific fantasy which at times is beautifully dark and sinister, seen through the eyes of a young boy, the characters are really brought to life.
I also really enjoyed the authors accents.
I would listen to this again and again as I feel that I missed layers on the first time.
Others may compare it to a modern fairy story, but that is too shallow. It is more of a gothick horror and parable. It has some of the grandure and terror of the Grimm tales without the childishness; even though the principal character is a child.
The naration matched the pace and tone of the story. Neil gives the impression of narating his own biography rather than a story he has written. The characters develop depth and meaning.
I would avoid "spoilers" but I felt the resolnation with my own childhood, my own experiences and to have that translated into the depths of the Ocean at the End of the Lane brought terror and empathy to bear.
"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.
"Gaiman at his fantastical best."
It's so lovely to hear an author read his own work, and Neil has a deceptively easy delivery. The story is everything I expect from him;disturbing, spooky, insightful and satisfying. My only disappointment was that it was over too soon, although, really, it is small and beautifully wrought and I must admit that is just the right length.
"A proper fairy story"
This book manages to be a proper, old fashioned fairy story in a way that opens you up to expect the derivative or clichéd as part of what must be, rather than something to be avoided. The style of writing is warm and simple in a way that fits the story perfectly. At the beginning, the author states that this is a very personal story and it is obviously so, without being self absorbed; in fact, for me, it helped add a very emotional aspect to the tale.
I thoroughly enjoyed the tale and the fact that it is read by the author absolutely makes the experience. I already have a few more Gaiman novels lined up!
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