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The Ocean at the End of the Lane Mass Market Paperback – 8 Apr 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,381 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 8 Apr 2014
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (8 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062325132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062325136
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,381 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 757,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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)

"[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

"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

"[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

"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

"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

"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)

"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

"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)

"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

"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 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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 Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

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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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.
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Format: Paperback
This is Neil Gaiman we're talking about, so The Ocean at the End of the Lane is well-written, with his characteristic lyrical prose and very original imagery. He also weaves in folklore, as he often does, but this time he includes much less well-known characters such as the gaelic Scathach (and I see this was written on Skye - clearly his inspiration in this case!) as well as mother/maiden/crone stuff.

It is, however, a very simple, short tale, despite the weaving at the front and back ends of half-remembered memory. There are no side plots or secondary characters with interesting tales. It's a bit like a long short story; the novel itself is just 236pp long, with 18pp of commentary and acknowledgements, and 5pp of newspaper/magazine reviews of the novel.

In many ways, it seems like a children's book, but it is probably not suitable for younger children - certainly sensitive or more conservative types - because of one short graphic sexual reference, a suicide (albeit it's a fairly incidental character you have not bonded with), and one's views on what happens near the end (to spell out more would be a spoiler).

Unfortunately when you reach for a novel that has been so heavily reviewed in the media (and they're listed in the book and on this page, so the publisher intends us to take them into account), you have horribly high expectations and it's hard not to expect what the reviews have told you to expect - and if you buy from Amazon, those reviews are critical to making the purchase. In this case, the media reviews often say or imply that the novel has profound views on the nature of childhood and memory.
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