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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
12,261864416 (4.08)1 / 741
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)
  1. 263
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (emperatrix)
  2. 191
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (riverwillow)
  3. 171
    Coraline by Neil Gaiman (emperatrix)
  4. 151
    Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (streamsong, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    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.
  5. 90
    A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (bookworm12)
  6. 80
    Among Others by Jo Walton (norabelle414)
    norabelle414: A young, bookish kid in 1970s England gets tangled up in magical and scary events larger than they are.
  7. 60
    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.
  8. 50
    Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (souloftherose)
  9. 72
    The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (Iudita)
  10. 40
    Slade House by David Mitchell (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Sinister and supernatural worlds exist hidden inside an otherwise normal modern UK
  11. 40
    A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Similar style, magical family
  12. 62
    The Book of Lost Things 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)
  13. 40
    A Sudden Wild Magic by Diana Wynne Jones (LongDogMom)
  14. 30
    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.
  15. 30
    Spirits That Walk in Shadow by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (LongDogMom)
  16. 31
    The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea (LongDogMom)
  17. 10
    The Boneshaker by Kate Milford (Othemts)
  18. 10
    Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell (TheDivineOomba)
  19. 10
    The Shape-Changer's Wife by Sharon Shinn (beyondthefourthwall)
    beyondthefourthwall: Concise, elegantly rendered fantasy novels feeling like classic fairy tales.
  20. 10
    The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both books use magical realism to illuminate family relationships.

(see all 28 recommendations)

2010s (104)
Oceans (2)
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» See also 741 mentions

English (850)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Arabic (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (864)
Showing 1-5 of 850 (next | show all)
I think I am falling in love with Neil Gaiman. Someone tell my husband.

Especially when Neil reads his own story...it is lovely.

This was a great story. Part myth, part fantastical fantasy and fears of childhood, part deep meanings of life explained, all wrapped up in a narrative by an unnamed 7 year old boy. I loved the old Mrs. Hemstock and her snipping powers; created such a nice image of how we sometimes need to change our story or forget some traumas for our own sanity. I also like the idea of powerful beings who want to be around us ridiculous humans and aren't afraid of the hunger birds and fleas that we don't even know exist.

His use of words and his ease of reading them is the best. ( )
  BarbF410 | May 22, 2022 |
Ooh this was so good I couldn't put it down....even though it also creeped me out. A really really good short novel (could give to teens, although the story gets really dark) about an episode from the narrator's past, when he was a young boy, that has haunted him ever since. Even though he really can't remember it fully except when he revisits his childhood home. The plot is too convoluted to begin to explain here, but it involves a girl on a neighboring farm, a pond (that the girl calls the "ocean"), and really creepy creatures from another dimension. And also memory, and love, and friendship, and human foibles like greed. And it's just marvelous. ( )
  GoldieBug | May 22, 2022 |
Excellent story telling, as usual! Unique and touching. ( )
  chibitika | May 10, 2022 |
If I could give this book six stars I would, read it in a few hours but one of those books that moves the soul and stays with you...plus top marks for having the main character recite Alice in wonderland and Gilbert and Sullivan when he is afraid, gave me a chuckle ( )
  eroga | May 5, 2022 |
I loved this book. It was narrated by the author, which I always think adds depth. Enjoy ( )
  Sunandsand | Apr 30, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 850 (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 (27 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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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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.
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