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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil…
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013)

by Neil Gaiman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,512659362 (4.09)1 / 664
Recently added bylucindabull, ONeillsBooks, Daniel.Malcor, Kupyer, private library, Susaned, Tanith1120, iovis, lilb
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    BookshelfMonstrosity: These atmospheric coming-of-age tales are magical and poignant as they dance around issues of good and evil. Though they contain plenty of dark undercurrents, they are ultimately hopeful.
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    norabelle414: A young, bookish kid in 1970s England gets tangled up in magical and scary events larger than they are.
  7. 50
    Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (rakerman)
    rakerman: There are similar themes of childhood and memory in The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Tom's Midnight Garden. The Ocean is a much more intense book, Midnight Garden is more wistful.
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    A Fistful Of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Similar style, magical family
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    Slade House by David Mitchell (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Sinister and supernatural worlds exist hidden inside an otherwise normal modern UK
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    The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan (-Eva-)
    -Eva-: Similar narrator in a similar environment, where magic is all around, but the growth of the character is the essential part.
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    The Book of Lost Things: A Novel by John Connolly (bookworm12, bluenotebookonline, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These fantasy novels featuring boys who get caught up in mystical, mysterious adventures both have dark undercurrents that create a strong atmosphere of suspense. Their vividly imagined fairy tale-like worlds make the stories both wondrous and compelling.… (more)
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    akblanchard: Both books use magical realism to illuminate family relationships.

(see all 24 recommendations)

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English (647)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Danish (1)  All (659)
Showing 1-5 of 647 (next | show all)
"I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible."

I feel as if a lot of the meaning behind this book was lost on me (being extremely tired while reading most of it probably did not help this issue), but regardless, it was beautifully written and I look forward to reading more of Gaiman's work.
( )
  jynxmecrazie | Jul 15, 2018 |
Amazing! ( )
  SevenAcreBooks | Jul 11, 2018 |
My first Gaiman, and I found it totally enjoyable and captivating. It was fantasy, in the vein of Rigg's [b:Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children|9460487|Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)|Ransom Riggs|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1391229642s/9460487.jpg|14345371], beautifully constructed. I gladly surrendered my sense of disbelief and slipped into this world without any doubt.

In the wake of a boarder's suicide, a boy of six meets the girl from the farm at the end of the lane. He finds himself enmeshed in a world of monsters and wisdom and age old beings, and from this encounter comes great danger and an exposure to a view of a life very different from the one he lived a few days earlier.

“Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet.” Sometimes the memories are more important than we imagine. Sometimes they are more of what shapes our lives than all the adult things we have pressed in atop of them.

This book is fun, it is a quick read, but it is also about fear, self-sacrifice and memory. I'm very pleased that I stepped outside my usual genre. I will be reading more Gaiman. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
[b: The Ocean at the End of the Lane|15783514|The Ocean at the End of the Lane|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1351914778s/15783514.jpg|21500681] devastated me.

[a: Neil Gaiman|1221698|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1234150163p2/1221698.jpg] is an interesting author. He can weave together a gorgeous fairy tale, but often falls flat when he tries to move outside of that very niche genre. I've been vocal about how [b: The Graveyard Book|2213661|The Graveyard Book|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1303859949s/2213661.jpg|2219449] disappointed me, and I felt rather similarly about [b: Neverwhere|14497|Neverwhere|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348747943s/14497.jpg|16534]. Both books that take a good fairy tale premise but really dont' go anywhere with it. Being a stylistically strong author, [a: Neil Gaiman|1221698|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1234150163p2/1221698.jpg] can also get dull in large doses. [b: The Ocean at the End of the Lane|15783514|The Ocean at the End of the Lane|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1351914778s/15783514.jpg|21500681] circumvented the problems before mentioned by grace of being written primarily through the lens of nostalgia. Its short length, manifold allusions to the old mythology that made [b: American Gods|4407|American Gods (American Gods, #1)|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1258417001s/4407.jpg|1970226] and [b: Sandman|18310944|The Sandman Overture (The Sandman, #0)|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405857546s/18310944.jpg|27097530] so strong, and charming setting made it everything a good [a: Neil Gaiman|1221698|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1234150163p2/1221698.jpg] book needs to be.

Like [b: Something Wicked This Way Comes|3236779|Something Wicked This Way Comes|J.C. Grey|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1276252435s/3236779.jpg|3271414] [b: The Ocean at the End of the Lane|15783514|The Ocean at the End of the Lane|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1351914778s/15783514.jpg|21500681] is a book best read by an adult rather than the YA genre it's quietly being shoehorned in. The topics it addresses, I feel, would hit home more strongly with such a crowd. The ending is graciously [a: Jonathan Carroll|23704|Jonathan Carroll|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1222900262p2/23704.jpg]-esque and has already lead to several months worth of discussion with the friend I read it with.

This book won't get under your skin, but it will take a small piece of your heart and a hazy recollection with it. It's as bittersweet as a dream, and I honestly quite like it that way. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
Neil Gaiman is a wonderful storyteller. I could hear this book in my head and I felt like I was by a fire, listening to an eccentric uncle tell a wildly imaginative story. A man returns to the to the town where he grew up to attend a funeral. At some point, he ends up returning to a neighbor’s farm past the spot where his boyhood home once stood. Behind the farmhouse is a pond and when he sits down at the edge of the pond an ocean of memories come flooding back.

Gaiman tells the story of this man’s childhood with charm and grace. We never know what is allegory and what is reality. And while the story is highly enjoyable all along the way, we can’t help but wonder what is fable, what is symbol, and what is truth. Clearly, the tale is tall, but what underlying themes and events did Gaiman experience? Which parts of the fairy tale are rooted in real emotion, real experiences?

This book is less than 180 pages, but is packed full of gorgeous imagery and fascinating characters. Told in first person, the dialog is sparse, but the narrative shows us a vivid setting and intriguing action. Going in, I knew nothing about the plot and I’m grateful. Therefore, I’m going to stop here with my review. Enjoy this moving and beautiful tale. Five stars. ( )
  Kevin_A_Kuhn | Jun 14, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 647 (next | show all)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane arouses, and satisfies, the expectations of the skilled reader of fairytales, and stories which draw on fairytales. Fairytales, of course, were not invented for children, and deal ferociously with the grim and the bad and the dangerous. But they promise a kind of resolution, and Gaiman keeps this promise.
added by riverwillow | editThe Guardian, AS Byatt (Jul 3, 2013)
 
[Gaiman's] mind is a dark fathomless ocean, and every time I sink into it, this world fades, replaced by one far more terrible and beautiful in which I will happily drown.
added by zhejw | editNew York Times, Benjamin Percy (Jun 27, 2013)
 
The story is tightly plotted and exciting. Reading it feels a lot like diving into an extremely smart, morally ambiguous fairy tale. And indeed, Gaiman's adult protagonist observes at one point that fairy tales aren't for kids or grownups — they're just stories. In Gaiman's version of the fairy tale, his protagonist's adult and child perspectives are interwoven seamlessly, giving us a sense of how he experienced his past at that time, as well as how it affected him for the rest of his life.
added by SimoneA | editNPR, Annalee Newitz (Jun 17, 2013)
 
Reading Gaiman's new novel, his first for adults since 2005's The Anansi Boys, is like listening to that rare friend whose dreams you actually want to hear about at breakfast. The narrator, an unnamed Brit, has returned to his hometown for a funeral. Drawn to a farm he dimly recalls from his youth, he's flooded with strange memories: of a suicide, the malign forces it unleashed and the three otherworldly females who helped him survive a terrifying odyssey. Gaiman's at his fantasy-master best here—the struggle between a boy and a shape-shifter with "rotting-cloth eyes" moves at a speedy, chilling clip. What distinguishes the book, though, is its evocation of the powerlessness and wonder of childhood, a time when magic seems as likely as any other answer and good stories help us through. "Why didn't adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and ... dangerous fairies?" the hero wonders. Sometimes, they do.
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaiman, Neilprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coder, LaneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, AdamCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kerner, Jamie LynnDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKean, DaveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sasscer, AshleeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"I remember my own childhood vividly ... I knew terrible things. But I knew I mustn't let adults know I knew. It would scare them."

Maurice Sendak, in conversation with Art Spiegelman,
The New Yorker, September 27, 1993
Dedication
For Amanda,
who wanted to know
First words
It was only a duck pond, out at the back of the farm. It wasn't very big.
Quotations
Books were safer than other people anyway.
You don't pass or fail at being a person, dear.
Lettie Hempstock said it was an ocean, but I knew that was silly. She said they'd come here across the ocean from the old country.
Her mother said that Lettie didn't remember properly, and it was a long time ago, and anyway, the old country had sunk.
I do not remember asking adults about anything, except as a last resort.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
When a middle-aged man returns to his childhood home in Sussex, England, for a funeral he remembers frightening childhood memories relating to the neighbor girl who promised to protect him from the darkness unleashed by a suicide at the pond at the end of their street.

HEADLINE EDITION:
It began for our narrator forty 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 menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defence is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

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 wings, as dangerous as a knife in the dark - from the storytelling genius of Neil Gaiman.
Haiku summary
Adult narrator
remembers childhood events
when seven years old.
(passion4reading)

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

It began for our narrator forty 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 the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

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