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

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,206 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Deckle Edge, 18 Jun 2013
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company (18 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062255657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062255655
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,686,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Gaiman is, simply put, a treasure-house of story, and we are lucky to have him' (Stephen King)

'Gaiman has a rich imagination...and an ability to tackle large themes' (Philip Pullman) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

From New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling writer Neil Gaiman, comes a novel of memory, magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
A fabulous atmospheric fantasy novel by one of the recognised modern masters of the genre. 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' is a brilliantly written story - gripping from the first pages, with interesting characters and a narrator you can root for, and a gloriously dark edge underlying it. The narrator is a middle aged man who revisits his childhood home and remembers an extraordinary series of events that happened when he was aged seven. The book evokes the feelings of childhood perfectly, particularly the fear and helplessness, but without running into problems with the narrative voice by having the narrator an adult looking back.

It is a 'plot driven' novel where plenty happens and it is often exciting and hard to put down. But there is a strong emotional undercurrent, and many genuinely poignant moments. It's very well balanced and manages to tug at your heart strings without actually appearing to do so, as you're so caught up in the drama.

Even readers who don't usually go for 'fantasy' books would likely enjoy this - it's accessibly written, and its themes of loss of innocence and taking on responsibility are universal. It's also a thumping good yarn that is hard to put down. The length is short - under 150 pages, and the pacing perfect. Gaiman is good at building up suspense and the middle section in particular had me jumping at shadows. There's a creepy, unsettling feeling that is created, and the ending is moving.

Although it's a book about a child and childhood, it wouldn't be suitable for young children. However I think teenagers from around 12 upwards would appreciate it and enjoy it. There are some mild sexual references and it's a bit scary, but no more so than many other books for this age group.
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Comment 78 of 80 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
On returning to his home village a man in his early forties starts to remember the things that happened to him when he was seven. A lodger appears at his home, and shortly after is found dead in his fathers car. He is there when the body id found and is sent to the nearest farm, where the Hempstocks give him breakfast. The death of the lodger opened a rift between this world and another, and dark things begin to happen to him. Lettie Hempstock, she says she is 11, but has been 11 a long time, aids him against these dark forces.

What Gaiman has done here is to take memories, the innocence of childhood, the fears of that age, and fairy tales, blended them together and distilled the essence into this exquisite tale. The Hempstocks are worldly and wise, and care deeply about all the things around them. The events that take place and the dark forces that swirl around this Sussex village are some of main fears that a child can confront, and yet the writing is compelling and deft.

You never get to know the name of the main character as I think Gaiman wants you to think that it is him, or possibly even you, experiencing these events. The way that the main character remembers means that reality, the dreams and nightmares, are all intertwined and you are not sure what is really happening, or is in his mind.

It is a melancholy tale, and the ending is quite powerful. Really enjoyed this and can highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
Neil Gaiman is such a remarkable author. One of my all time favorites. I have always marvelled at how well he can interweave fantasy and reality. You don’t seem to lose that familiar grounding of the world we know, even as you are delving into the mysteries of otherwordliness that creep up on you from the pages of his award winning novels.

Although this theme of reality spilling into the unknown (or vice versa) is one of Gaiman’s familiar formulas, there is something so very different and unexpected about this latest tale. We enter into the reveries of a middle-aged man who has returned to his hometown for a funeral. The childhood recollections, told in a very believeable first-person narrative, seem wholly commonplace and plausible. The exact sort of memories that Gaiman himself might have; and indeed he has revealed that he drew heavily upon personal experiences when writing this book. Somewhere along the way, however, the reader is almost imperceptibly drawn into a world of supernatural wonderment. There are dangers so completely evil that the seven year old protagonist should be hiding away beneath the blankets; yet children are always more accepting of the unexplainable, and so he finds himself caught in a thick web of mystical wickedness. By his side, however, is a girl as wholesome as the fresh milk she serves him from her farm; but also as brave as any mythic hero and as sagely as the dawn of time.

It is a journey that you will not forget easily. It is childhood lost and fairytales rekindled. It is one of a kind, and only Gaiman could have crafted such a complexly enchanting tale.
Comment 29 of 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By Peter Lee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In this very strange book - perhaps aimed at young readers - an unnamed narrator returns to his childhood home after a funeral and visits the neighbouring house where three women in the Hempstock family live. At the back of their home is a pond, which the youngest Hempstock claimed was actually an ocean. The narrator then remembers his childhood, and things become rather strange. A lodger commits suicide and a supernatural presence starts to leave money for people in strange places, our narrator waking one morning with a coin in his throat. His mother starts a new job and a childminder called Ursula Monkton is hired to look after him and his sister, after which events take a sinister turn.

It's a very short and peculiar book, and much is hinted at but unanswered. It feels almost dream-like in some ways, and like most dreams you wake without there being any resolution or logic to what you've experienced, and for me the book was similarly disjointed. By the end I still had no idea what it was all really about, and although the writing was good I can't really say I enjoyed it very much. Maybe I missed something, but then again I confess I'm not a fan of fantasy fiction - the genre this inhabits more than any other.

Lots of people clearly adore this book, but I'm afraid it wasn't my cup of tea at all.
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