- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Headline; First Edition edition (18 Jun. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1472200314
- ISBN-13: 978-1472200310
- Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.9 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,337 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane Hardcover – 18 Jun 2013
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Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul (Joanne Harris)
I loved it (Roddy Doyle)
Gaiman's achievement is to make the fantasy world seem true (The Times)
It's possibly Gaiman's most lyrical, scary and beautiful work yet. It's a tale about childhood for grown-ups, a fantasy rooted in the darkest corners of reality. It is a story he's been waiting all his life to tell (Independent on Sunday)
A hugely satisfying scary fantasy and a moving, subtle exploration of family, of what it's really like to be a child, and how the memories of childhood affect the adults we become. It's a wonderful book (Irish Times)
The most affecting book Gaiman has written, a novel whose intensity of real-world observation and feeling make its other-worldly episodes doubly startling and persuasive (Daily Telegraph)
This beautiful fable with flashes of terror and sparks of humour is about memory and magic and the darkness that lives without and within. Loneliness and longing saturate the pages but so does the redemptive power of friendship in the person of the magnificently adorable Lettie Hempstock (Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Bookseller)
It's a very rare thing, maybe once a decade, for a novel to come along and within a few pages you know you're reading a future classic. If you haven't heard of Neil Gaiman yet you can be forgiven, but this, his sixth adult novel, will firmly cement his handprints in the literary walk of fame...this is one of those stories that is almost primitive in its power - it captures you heart and soul, and makes you grateful we have storytellers like Gaiman to feed our minds and stoke our imaginations. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is this year's big bang book (Stylist Magazine)
This is a book to sink into, allowing yourself to be gradually pulled along by its currents, into a childhood that's half remembered. Events take place over just a few days, and since the consequences of his actions are forgotten by the main character, it's easy to believe that nothing of importance has really happened. But experiencing those few days, that snippet of a childhood and a quest for survival in a world that's already terrifying for children is a joy, an experience that will stay with you long after the final page is turned (SFX Magazine)
Dark, strange and scarily brilliant: an otherworldly fable about memories and magic (Marie Claire)
I really don't want to say too much about the story itself. I will say it is short as it focused on one event, one wrong that needs to be put right. And because of that focus Neil Gaiman is free to explore the minor but significant details as well as look at the grander parts of life. It made me smile, it made me sad, it made my heart ache and it made me think. "What else could I ask for?" Read it (GavReads)
A book that will resonate powerfully with anyone attempting to process the darker aspects of their own childhood. And in an age when childhood ends early, and often brutally, that makes it a book for almost everyone (Medium)
If it's not just for adults, and not quite for children, there is one age-flexible group it is written for. An obtuse thing to say about a book it may be, but The Ocean at the End of the Lane was written for readers. It's for people to whom books were and are anaesthesia, companion, and tutor. If you're one of them, you'll want to wade into it, past your ankles, knees and shoulders, until it laps over the crown of your head. You'll want to dive in (Den of Geek)
A mind-bending tale with a hint of horror (Glamour)
This book is another gentle earthquake under our psychological landscape (Time Out)
If you think fantasy books are only for people who enjoy rocking a sock/sandal combo and dressing up as warlocks at the weekend, think again. It's brilliantly written and you can whizz through it in a couple of days (Heat)
The novel is a children's book, in the sense that it is a book about childhood. A child could read and enjoy it but only an adult will appreciate its bittersweet nuances and subtle sadnesses. In prose as delicate and diaphanous as a cobweb, and with a painstakingly precise use of symbolism, Gaiman traces one boy's journey from innocence, through fear and regret, to experience. In doing so, he traces all of our journeys, and beautifully (Financial Times)
Gaiman does this sort of thing as well as anybody, and after a low-key beginning he builds the tension with skill, resulting in some truly scary moments. Like the ocean in the duck pond, he creates a sense of scale far greater than the modest rural setting in which the action takes place. There is real heart too, most notably in the narrator's touching friendship with Lettie Hempstock, the girl from down the lane who may have been 11 years old for a very long time. These days there is a weight of expectation on anything Gaiman writes. Happily, this novel proves once again that the hype is justified (The List)
Gaiman's storytelling is mythic, laced with ritual and minutiae - Lettie, her mother and crone tend their farm, banish creatures, cut and stitch the fabric of time and provide helpings of porridge... the richness of being seven, when happiness is a mix of books, sweets and adult injustice, is perfectly conveyed. Brief but memorable, Ocean is cosmic yet domestic (Metro)
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is a novel about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us, created by the unparalleled imaginative power of Neil Gaiman.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Part of the reason I liked this book so much is because I love fairy tales. I love myths and legends and folk tales and little local stories that you only ever hear if you go to... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Unazukin
It takes a lot of skill and imagination to create a work of such enchantment in so few pages and Gaiman succeeds beautifully.Published 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
Like the titular pond there is much more inside than appearances suggest. Gaiman's stories are always more than mere prose. Read morePublished 16 days ago by mophillips
I love this book. I read it a year ago and it stays with me. I keep thinking about it. Magical and touching - just very special.Published 22 days ago by Mrs T
This book is thought provoking as it is satisfying. This is the kind of book you find yourself thinking about between reading sessions. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Georgina Wilkinson