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A major new work from "a writer to make readers rejoice" (Minneapolis Star Tribune)—a moving story of memory, magic, and survival

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, 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, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

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. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

Published: HarperCollins on Jun 18, 2013
ISBN: 9780062255679
List price: $8.99
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Before I get into this review let me admit something: I am a huge, huge Neil Gaiman fan (but really, who isn't?). That said, The Ocean at the End of the Lane quickly climbed to the top of my favorites list, not just favorites of Gaiman's work, but favorites of all time. It's that good. It also packs a punch for being as small of a book as it is - don't let its size fool you.Speaking of shorter novels, Gaiman does this so well. He doesn't add fluff and unnecessary bits of plot that do nothing other than bulk up the word count. He gets to the heart of the story and then, once he's led us there, he just twists and twists until his readers are so entwined into the story that it's nearly impossible to free ourselves. So I was grateful for the length of this book because it meant, after putting it down (finished), that I could finally go to sleep. But then.. came the dreams.The Ocean at the End of the Lane tells the story of a grown man revisiting a place of his youth. It's filled with beautiful imagery, such as the birthday party of a 7 year old boy, that's designed to tug just right at the heart strings. It has myths and fantasies and a beautiful look at the power of the female that had me giddily clutching my book with happiness. The Ocean at the End of the Lane had all of this without overwhelmingly preaching a heavy-handed message. Instead, Gaiman tells a gentle story that has its share of horrors and happiness and, similar to Coraline and Neverwhere, the result is a fantasy world that I would love to visit.Chances are if you are reading this review, you already planned on picking up this book. But if, by chance, you are one of the few who has not experienced Gaiman's work, this would not be a bad place to start at all.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What to say about this hauntingly beautiful totally unique book, I loved it, I even rewound it twice just so it didn’t end and if I would have had the time I would have started it from the beginning as soon as I finished.Such a neat story, Neil is one of those writers that can take your breath away with a phrase or beautiful imagery. Although this story has fantastical/magical realism, it still feels like it could be a true story because you believe every word.Of course I listened to this on audio, it’s narrated by, Neil himself so that was a no-brainer choice, because I could listen to Neil read the phonebook and be mesmerized.I know this is a sorry excuse for a review but every time I try to explain how good this was I can’t put a sentence together, maybe when I do a re-listen one day I will expand upon this review but for now all I can say is read this book and read it now! (On audio is the best!)5 Starsread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book pulled me along as quickly as anything has since The Sisters Brothers. An adult fairy tale with one foot in childhood and another in contemporary horror, I felt true dread for the seven-year-old protagonist several times; he doesn't quite understand how horrible a mess he's gotten himself in sometimes, but with the perspective of age, we do.

The Hempstocks, his neighbors down the lane, are a delight. They're just who you think they might be when they first appear, but also more. (I think Old Mrs. Hempstock may have been partly inspired by Galactus.)

I enjoy the way Gaiman's supernatural world doesn't lean too hard on the mythology of olden times, but rhymes with it. That way we get to experience the world of this book fresh, just as the protagonist does.

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Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Before I get into this review let me admit something: I am a huge, huge Neil Gaiman fan (but really, who isn't?). That said, The Ocean at the End of the Lane quickly climbed to the top of my favorites list, not just favorites of Gaiman's work, but favorites of all time. It's that good. It also packs a punch for being as small of a book as it is - don't let its size fool you.Speaking of shorter novels, Gaiman does this so well. He doesn't add fluff and unnecessary bits of plot that do nothing other than bulk up the word count. He gets to the heart of the story and then, once he's led us there, he just twists and twists until his readers are so entwined into the story that it's nearly impossible to free ourselves. So I was grateful for the length of this book because it meant, after putting it down (finished), that I could finally go to sleep. But then.. came the dreams.The Ocean at the End of the Lane tells the story of a grown man revisiting a place of his youth. It's filled with beautiful imagery, such as the birthday party of a 7 year old boy, that's designed to tug just right at the heart strings. It has myths and fantasies and a beautiful look at the power of the female that had me giddily clutching my book with happiness. The Ocean at the End of the Lane had all of this without overwhelmingly preaching a heavy-handed message. Instead, Gaiman tells a gentle story that has its share of horrors and happiness and, similar to Coraline and Neverwhere, the result is a fantasy world that I would love to visit.Chances are if you are reading this review, you already planned on picking up this book. But if, by chance, you are one of the few who has not experienced Gaiman's work, this would not be a bad place to start at all.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What to say about this hauntingly beautiful totally unique book, I loved it, I even rewound it twice just so it didn’t end and if I would have had the time I would have started it from the beginning as soon as I finished.Such a neat story, Neil is one of those writers that can take your breath away with a phrase or beautiful imagery. Although this story has fantastical/magical realism, it still feels like it could be a true story because you believe every word.Of course I listened to this on audio, it’s narrated by, Neil himself so that was a no-brainer choice, because I could listen to Neil read the phonebook and be mesmerized.I know this is a sorry excuse for a review but every time I try to explain how good this was I can’t put a sentence together, maybe when I do a re-listen one day I will expand upon this review but for now all I can say is read this book and read it now! (On audio is the best!)5 Stars
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book pulled me along as quickly as anything has since The Sisters Brothers. An adult fairy tale with one foot in childhood and another in contemporary horror, I felt true dread for the seven-year-old protagonist several times; he doesn't quite understand how horrible a mess he's gotten himself in sometimes, but with the perspective of age, we do.

The Hempstocks, his neighbors down the lane, are a delight. They're just who you think they might be when they first appear, but also more. (I think Old Mrs. Hempstock may have been partly inspired by Galactus.)

I enjoy the way Gaiman's supernatural world doesn't lean too hard on the mythology of olden times, but rhymes with it. That way we get to experience the world of this book fresh, just as the protagonist does.

Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is one of those reviews where I don't want to give away any details of the book to keep from ruining the surprises. I will say it is one of those rare books that I had to keep forcing myself to slow down my reading speed because I didn't want it to end. Neil Gaiman has such a wonderful way with words that you don't want to miss even one. An easy 5 out of 5 stars and a must read for 2013!
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This book is one of the finest that i have read. I am 61 years old and joined the Science Fiction Book Club when I was 8. So I have read my share of science fiction and fantasy. I suppose you could call what Neil Gaiman writes fantasy but I don't really think of it as fantasy. I think of it as reality with hiccups.

I read the book twice within the first two months of having it. I often re-read books but never that quickly. Some passages in this book are the finest thing I have ever read and I think if the whole book was that way my head would have exploded. I highly recommend this book to all.
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