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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel by…
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel (original 2013; edition 2014)

by Neil Gaiman (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,470832432 (4.07)1 / 726
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)
Member:mwpp555
Title:The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel
Authors:Neil Gaiman (Author)
Info:William Morrow (2014), 181 pages
Collections:Your library, Wishlist
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

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

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    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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(see all 27 recommendations)

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» See also 726 mentions

English (818)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Arabic (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (832)
Showing 1-5 of 818 (next | show all)
The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Rating 5/5 😍

I loved this book so much! I am so grateful to authors like Neil Gaiman who don't seem to really inhabit - atleast in their heads - the same droll and mundane world that we do. They live in fantastic universes constituting magical creatures that are both good and evil. His prose is a flowing river that sweeps and consumes it's reader away into the world it's creating. I liked to inhabit it so much and didn't want to come out that I read the book "cover to cover" - not even stopping at the acknowledgements page as I usually do. 🙃🙃

The narrator of the story is a small boy of age seven whose life is forever changed when unusual things start happening in his neighborhood. People get money out of nowhere and there are also unexplained suicides,murders and other unpleasant events. A black man from south africa renting a room in the boy's house commits suicide - for no apparent reason - and while identifying the dead body, the boy meets a girl named Lettie Hempstock who lives on a farm at the end of the lane from his big,green house. She seems to know all the answers to his questions about the strange happenings in their neighborhood. She lives with her mother Ginnie and grandmother Old Mrs.Hempstock. He doesn't know it yet - but he has entered into the company of beings that are not really human and who claim to have been living "forever", seen the making of the moon and the planets and know things that have happened,are happening and are going to happen. While it sure feels safe,secure and even a little bit thrilling to be with such beings - there is always danger lurking right behind as we shall see if we read on. Lettie knows the cause of the unusual happenings and goes into a strange place at the back of her farm to fix it. She takes the boy with her too. While she is "dealing" with whatever she had to - a creature, a "flea" which is cruel,cunning and vindictive attaches itself to the boy. She travels back with him to mortal world in his body - freed from its imprisonment. This becomes a source for his life falling into mortal danger and what follows is how the boy is rescued by Lettie and her family? Who are they and the other creatures they fight with in order to save the boy ? Lettie has promised to save him no matter what - was she able to keep it? If so, at what price?

This is a good fantasy story - started off as a short story by Mr.Gaiman but evolved into a fuller novel. The Ocean in the title is really a small pond in the backyard of the Hempstocks' farm - but it is as wide,deep and powerful as the ocean that surrounds the universe (as they say in myth) - it can cure,heal and provide infinite wisdom. :) The only aspect of this book I had trouble getting through was child abuse - the flea making the boy's father abuse him by dunking his body completely under cold water and his loneliness,fight/flight for survival from his only family had a real visceral quality to it. 😢 ( )
  nagasravika.bodapati | Jul 20, 2021 |
more of a novella. interesting universe I hope he expands on later ( )
  levan.matthew | Jul 17, 2021 |
This is graded on an author based curve, in other words I'm judging it compared to other Neil Gaiman books, and in that comparison it lacks something. I felt like I was stuck between a kids book and a book mean for adults. Maybe that was the entire point, but it did not work for me. At the end I didn't feel like I had really gotten anything more than a surface telling of the tale. The sense of magic didn't work well enough to carry the book. That being said, I think Mr. Gaiman could write out the phone book and make it enjoyable to read. The individual sentences and paragraphs are beautifully written. I just wish they had been in service of a more fully realized story. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
A quiet, bookish seven year boy's life turns upside down when his family has money problems. First, they force him to share a room with his sister, and then rent him room to an opal miner, who dies under mysterious (dark) circumstances down the lane. When the police investigate, the boy meets the three generations of Hempstock women who run the farm at the end of the lane. Eleven-year old Lettie Hempstock, enchants him with her ideas and conviction that the pond at the very end of the lane is actually an ocean. She takes him on a quest to defeat evil, but his mistake allows evil to be released at home upon their return from the strange place. The boy decides it is his responsibility to defeat the odious beast, and learns about sacrifice. I liked the imagery and the strength of the Hempstock women, and disliked the weakness of the boy's family.
( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
Beautiful. Horrifying. ( )
  MuggleBorn930 | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 818 (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
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
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Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

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.

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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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