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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Jun 18 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; American First edition (June 18 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062255657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062255655
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

“Remarkable . . . wrenchingly, gorgeously elegiac. . . . [I]n The Ocean at the End of the Lane, [Gaiman] summons up childhood magic and adventure while acknowledging their irrevocable loss, and he stitches the elegiac contradictions together so tightly that you won’t see the seams.” (Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“Gaiman has crafted an achingly beautiful memoir of an imagination and a spellbinding story that sets three women at the center of everything. . . .[I]t’s a meditation on memory and mortality, a creative reflection on how the defining moments of childhood can inhabit the worlds we imagine.” (Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI))

“His prose is simple but poetic, his world strange but utterly believable—if he was South American we would call this magic realism rather than fantasy.” (The Times (London) on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“[W]orthy of a sleepless night . . . a fairy tale for adults that explores both innocence lost and the enthusiasm for seeing what’s past one’s proverbial fence . . . Gaiman is a master of creating worlds just a step to the left of our own.” (USA Today on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“Poignant and heartbreaking, eloquent and frightening, impeccably rendered, it’s a fable that reminds us how our lives are shaped by childhood experiences, what we gain from them and the price we pay.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“[A] compelling tale for all ages . . . entirely absorbing and wholly moving.” (New York Daily News on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“[A] story concerning the bewildering gulf between the innocent and the authoritative, the powerless and the powerful, the child and the adult. . . . Ocean is a novel to approach without caution; the author is clearly operating at the height of his career.” (The Atlantic Wire on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“Ocean has that nearly invisible prose that keeps the focus firmly on the storytelling, and not on the writing. . . . This simple exterior hides something much more interesting; in the same way that what looks like a pond can really be an ocean.” (io9)

“This slim novel, gorgeously written, keeps its talons in you long after you’ve finished.” (New York Post on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“In Gaiman’s latest romp through otherworldly adventure, a young boy discovers a neighboring family’s supernatural secret. Soon his innocence is tested by ancient, magical forces, and he learns the power of true friendship. The result is a captivating read, equal parts sweet, sad, and spooky.” (Parade on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“’The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ is fun to read, filled with his trademarked blend of sinister whimsy. Gaiman’s writing is like dangerous candy—you’re certain there’s ground glass somewhere, but it just tastes so good!” (Bookish (Houston Chronicle book blog))

“The impotence of childhood is often the first thing sentimental adults forget about it; Gaiman is able to resurrect, with brutal immediacy, the abject misery of being unable to control one’s own life.” (Laura Miller, Salon)

“[W]ry and freaky and finally sad. . . . This is how Gaiman works his charms. . . . He crafts his stories with one eye on the old world, on Irish folktales and Robin Hood and Camelot, and the other on particle physics and dark matter.” (Chicago Tribune on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

“When I finally closed the last page of this slim volume it was with the realization that I’d just finished one of those uncommon perfect books that come along all too rarely in a reader’s life.” (Charles DeLint, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE)

From the Back Cover

A Globe & Mail 100 Selection

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is part fairy tale, part Lovecraftian horror and part childhood reminiscence. It is a truly beautiful story, one that has remained with me well after finishing it, and one that I can not recommend enough.

I won't bother you with plot details as I am sure that's been done to death already in other reviews. Suffice to say the story follows a lonely young boy, and by its end it forces you to question whether many of the events that happened were based in reality or the child's imagination, and whether or not that actually matters.

There are too many elegiac scenes, too many bits of heartfelt dialogue written by Mr. Gaiman for me to mention in this review, but there is one in particular that really stood out for me. Without revealing too much, the scene is so wonderfully written and effortless in its magical and mournful revelation that, even when cradled among all the objective secrets of the universe, self-knowledge is still a difficult and furtive thing to come by, it is tough not to be brought to tears.

This was the first work I read of Mr. Gaiman's, but it will most certainly not be my last. Go buy this novel right now.
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By Alison S. Coad TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 23 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In "The Ocean at the End of the Lane," by Neil Gaiman, readers are introduced to a nameless middle-aged man who has returned to his home village in Sussex, England, to attend a funeral. Although he finds things much changed there, he still manages to make his way to the old farmhouse in which, as a boy, he met the young, magical Lettie, Lettie's mother and Lettie's grandmother. During the eventful year that he was 7, the boy and 11-year-old Lettie encounter wonders and terrors, from the pond at the bottom of the lane that does indeed contain oceans to a very frightening houseguest in his own home. The question is, can the boy and Lettie manage to prevent worlds colliding, and if so, how?.... Now, I am a huge Gaiman fan - I would read a grocery list if it was written by him because I know it would be inventive, entertaining and, one some level at least, poignant and mythic. In this new novel (which by the way is for adults even though it deals primarily with events in the life of a 7-year-old), we are treated to some of the more wondrous and magical writing from anybody in recent years. If you were to think of the female trinity - maiden, mother and crone - you would be right, but that is only the starting place for this short, mesmerizing book. I loved it so much that as soon as I finished it, I was ready - nay, eager - to read it again. Very highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' is a very classic Neil Gaiman story. It read well and contained all of his usual elements of magic tinged with terror. I greatly enjoyed this story, however I found it very reminiscent of his story 'Coraline'. Much of the plot followed a similar line, but with much more mature elements and events in the plot. It was still an excellent read, I do not regret buying this.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not a fan of fantasy novels and read this novel because Tom Hanks, the actor, bought the movie rights to it. Having said that, I must admit it was an intriguing and mysterious story of a person encountering a person both old and young and remembering how they met. What I want to know is, why did the character come back to the place of his childhood for a funeral. Who died? That's what I want to know. The author weaves a very good story and I can recommend his book because of this.
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Format: Hardcover
This is Gaimans' best book since American Gods, an unapologetically nostalgic pseudo-memoir that is as patient and restrained as that novel was ambitious and complex. Following a trip to the rural English area where the middle-aged narrator spent a portion of his youth, a seemingly impossible collection of memories are reawakened, involving a young girl, her mother, and grandmother, who live on the idyllic farm at the end of the lane, and the sometimes terrifying events that follow his decision to accompany the girl on a short walk to the ocean that only the Three Women know about. There are few writers with a knowledge and feel for all things mythical like Gaiman, who has an intuitive understanding of the usually baffling and contradictory rules of pagan gods and fairytale monsters. His witty observations of the intrinsic silliness to be found in beliefs both ancient and modern counterbalance the moments of horror and genuine sadness. The emotional resonance Gaiman slowly builds over the course of this novel is something special; as an emotional cripple with absolutely no patience for maudlin sentimentality, saccharine navel-gazing, or false nostalgia, I actually cried at the end of this book, the first time that's happened since I turned the final pages of Watership Down when I was 10 (there's just something about the English countryside, I guess).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful novels I have ever read. It was magic. True and real.
It's not often that a book will pull at the whole of my attention. This was a short read for me because I could not put it down.
Immediately upon finishing the story, I opened the first page and started over again. It's a world I have no want or readiness to leave.
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