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The Ocean at the End of the Lane Audiobook

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

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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

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  •  
    Richard Milwaukee, WI, United States 05-23-16
    Richard Milwaukee, WI, United States 05-23-16 Member Since 2012
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    "What am I missing?"

    Rave reviews left me waiting through the entire book to understand what made this a great book. Still waiting... Articulate author but simply could not see the point. Repetitive imagery, disappointing pace.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mel USA 06-27-13
    Mel USA 06-27-13 Member Since 2009

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Inside of us all, the child that remains"

    I love the beautiful and heartfelt reviews listeners have thus far shared; there is so much revealed in their responses. How could there not be if they experienced this book. I say experienced because if you just listen, if you don't at some point feel something inside of you open and resonate with Gaiman's tale, you missed a dimension of this book-- as much as if you missed the secret hidden 3D pictures in those once popular Stereogram books. (You can find some at www.eyetrick.com to see what I mean. I struggled with those dang things!)

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about more than just growing up or defining an adult world with a child's mind: it is about the process and mechanisms, the loss of innocence, becoming of this world. Gaiman maps this mystical, but very real dimension--as fearful as it is beautiful; primordially familiar--yet different for each one of us. The landscape is the experiences that as children we felt but did not have the sophistication to understand; the fears, the comforts, the effects we hadn't yet aligned with cause. A world where our favorite color, or feel, or taste might materialize in some form as a landmark or grounding we understood amidst the confusion of an adult world. Gaiman presents a pure and unfiltered portrayal of that world, which he captures brilliantly.

    I've read very few of Gaiman's books because I don't usually choose fantasy. Those I've read were good, but still a little like a chocolate lover choosing vanilla. As I began reading this, I thought it more like Coraline, another read suited more for adolescents. It wasn't until the picture really came into focus that something resonated inside, and I stepped into this book. I thought back -- when the babysitter told me I'd stepped on a devil thorn and a blue line would start to climb up my leg, reach my heart, and I'd die...remembered my grandma's swing tied to a horse chestnut tree, and smelled the mint along the her ditch banks... I'm sure each reader filled in their own response, or landscape to this world. It all popped out in front of me; I saw, and felt, the genius in this book. Baudeliare said, "Genius is childhood recalled at will" If that is so, then Gaiman is definitely a genius that shares his brilliance with pen and paper, and reminds us that we were (or maybe are) once geniuses ourselves.
    *Having Gaiman present his work is another aspect of magic. His voice lulls you into this world; it saves you when it is dark and threatening, it comforts you when it is frightening, and it holds a hint of a child that speaks to your own inner child. Just Wonderful.

    81 of 102 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Nelson 05-15-15
    A. Nelson 05-15-15 Member Since 2015

    ToddlerMom

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    "Maybe I missed something?"
    What did you like best about The Ocean at the End of the Lane? What did you like least?

    I'm not sure what all the excitement was about, perhaps this is not my genre of book. I was quite surprised to be hearing such a fantasy-like novel, I did not get that impression from the description or reviews.
    If you're into magic, dragons, and mystical creatures, you'll probably like this book.


    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Lake Oswego, OR, United States 08-22-13
    Dr. Lake Oswego, OR, United States 08-22-13 Member Since 2017
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    "Not Sure What All the Fuss is About"

    I was captivated by the picture on the cover and the brief blurb I read. Without any other info, I set about listening. Gaiman is a very good writer and an even better narrator - so it was easy to be captivated by the story telling - at least early on. I kept waiting for the story to become more interesting and to take some unexpected twist to keep me interested. It never did. Instead, by the end of the story, I developed a new appreciation for what it meant to write for a young audience and decided that it was no coincidence that the opening of the book was a quote was from Maurice Sendak. So - if you are interested in a contemporary children's story with magic, good, and evil, try this one. If you are looking for a more substantive story and you are not inclined to listen to children's stories, try something else.

    20 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FanB14 07-09-13
    FanB14 07-09-13

    Short, Simple, No Spoilers

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    "Fanciful Tale Falls Flat"

    Little British boy meets intriguing odd young Hettie and her mother on an old quirky farm. While dabbling in another world, oddities come to life bringing about dire consequences for all around.

    Interesting shell of a world, lacks depth and backstory for characters. Gaiman is a wonderfully descriptive writer as with the family home where you can see yourself running down the meadow looking for a hole in the fence and smell and taste the blackberry jam in the porridge. Lacking are the threads to tie together all the fanciful ideas to draw you in. I didn't love the book, but parts were inventive, clever and found the ending rewarding. Having the author narrate is always pleasant as he/she can add expression in all the right places.

    124 of 159 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacob RICHMOND, CALIFORNIA, United States 07-13-13
    Jacob RICHMOND, CALIFORNIA, United States 07-13-13 Member Since 2011
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    "It feels almost like a memoir"
    What did you love best about The Ocean at the End of the Lane?

    As with all of Neil Gaiman's books I enjoy the confined small, but huge feel to the story. I like the sparse few characters which all have an important role to play. I enjoy the slow learning about the roles and that at the end you still want to know more, but are left wanting.


    What other book might you compare The Ocean at the End of the Lane to and why?

    I would compare it to Graveyard Book also by Neil Gaiman. I would make this comparison because it too has the same small, but important story to tell. It too has the same sparse list of characters that you don't get to know everything about. It too leaves you wanting to know more.


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

    Neil Gaiman unlike many other authors narrating brings a feeling to the books future state that he communicates through inflection that you don't get otherwise and would not get through all, but the most skilled of narrators.


    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 take old Mrs. Hempstock to dinner. She being the oldest and wisest of the Hempstock women and seeming to be the most open to discuss honestly the early history of the universe.


    22 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed willson 05-23-16
    Ed willson 05-23-16 Member Since 2013
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    "not his best."

    i did it twice, and it's not very good. his other books were great, but this just fell flat on its face.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deer Camp Texas USA 05-22-16
    Deer Camp Texas USA 05-22-16 Member Since 2008

    campcook

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    "Horrible Story"

    I bought this book because the story synopsis seemed interesting, and it had rave reviews. But overall it seems like a child's narration of a horrible nightmare, where someone is after you; things happen you don't understand and you can't get away. I just don't understand why so many people thought it was a great book!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Lansing, MI, United States 09-03-13
    Brian Lansing, MI, United States 09-03-13 Member Since 2016

    I love to read books; and now just recently I've discovered that audio books are very cool!! I'm also an author. You can find the SciFi book "The Curse of Europa" here on Audible or on Amazon.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A nice diversion"
    What does Neil Gaiman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    At first I was a little hesitant of listening to an author read his own book. Authors can usually write a great story, but not many can speak a great story (myself included.) But Gaiman made it work! One benefit of the author reading their own story is that they know exactly HOW the dialog was intended to be delivered. They know where they want inflection, where it should be whispered, or exasperated, etc.


    Any additional comments?

    I like Science Fiction, good straight-up realistic SciFi! This is not SciFi, it is fantasy. But... I liked it. I liked it a lot. Gaiman tells a great story (both in his writing and in his narration). Half the time I thought the boy in the story was me at that age. I can't think of anything I didn't like about the story and the ending was perfect.

    19 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate Jackson, MS, United States 06-25-13
    Nate Jackson, MS, United States 06-25-13 Member Since 2013
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    "More Stardust Than American Gods"

    Much more fairytale Coraline/Stardust/Graveyard Book than American Gods/Anansi Boys/Neverwhere, but still a decent novella. Felt like a story from Fragile Things carried to completion. It was neat to hear that there was a lot from his early childhood that was pulled into this story, and it was a surprise to him that the short story grew into this -- for my money, though, I like Gaiman when he's more grit and gristle.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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