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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Neil Gaiman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,059 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $7.00 (47%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman’s first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.

This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real...


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2013: Neil Gaiman's intent was simple: to write a short story. What he ended up with instead was The Ocean at the of the Lane--his first adult novel since Anansi Boys came out in 2005, and a narrative so thoughtful and thrilling that it's as difficult to stop reading as it was for Gaiman to stop writing. Forty years ago, our narrator, who was then a seven-year-old boy, unwittingly discovered a neighboring family’s supernatural secret. What happens next is an imaginative romp through otherwordly adventure that could only come from Gaiman's magical mind. Childhood innocence is tested and transcended as we see what getting between ancient, mystic forces can cost, as well as what can be gained from the power of true friendship. The result is a captivating tale that is equal parts sweet, sad, and spooky. --Robin A. Rothman

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In Gaiman’s first novel for adults since Anansi Boys (2005), the never-named fiftyish narrator is back in his childhood homeland, rural Sussex, England, where he’s just delivered the eulogy at a funeral. With “an hour or so to kill” afterward, he drives about—aimlessly, he thinks—until he’s at the crucible of his consciousness: a farmhouse with a duck pond. There, when he was seven, lived the Hempstocks, a crone, a housewife, and an 11-year-old girl, who said they were grandmother, mother, and daughter. Now, he finds the crone and, eventually, the housewife—the same ones, unchanged—while the girl is still gone, just as she was at the end of the childhood adventure he recalls in a reverie that lasts all afternoon. He remembers how he became the vector for a malign force attempting to invade and waste our world. The three Hempstocks are guardians, from time almost immemorial, situated to block such forces and, should that fail, fight them. Gaiman mines mythological typology—the three-fold goddess, the water of life (the pond, actually an ocean)—and his own childhood milieu to build the cosmology and the theater of a story he tells more gracefully than any he’s told since Stardust (1999). And don’t worry about that “for adults” designation: it’s a matter of tone. This lovely yarn is good for anyone who can read it. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: That this is the popular author’s first book for adults in eight years pretty much sums up why this will be in demand. --Ray Olson

Product Details

  • File Size: 1009 KB
  • Print Length: 259 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (June 18, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009NFHF0Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
768 of 795 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adult fairy tales don't get much better than this June 18, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Right up front I should admit, I'd never heard of Neil Gaiman before I read an enthusiastic newspaper review about this book and decided to preorder it a few days ago. Last night, it was wirelessly delivered to my Kindle and this morning, I picked it up and started reading. Almost instantly, I was so absorbed and lost in the storytelling experience that I didn't do anything else until I finished it a few hours later.

It's a short book; it's enchanting; it's very well written...definitely top-quality fantasy literature. I'm not a fan of fantasy literature, but this book swept me away into such a delightful and fascinating series of incredible adventures--or should I say misadventures--that I could not pull myself away. The author is correct to warn that this is not a fable for children...the reality is far too stark and dark, and there are definitely some adult themes.

"The Ocean at the End of the Lane" is a tale about a lonely bookish seven-year old whose life takes a terrifying turn into a dark and creepy reality. The child is never named, but in recent interviews, the author admits that this child is very much like he was at that age. The child lives in the lovely English countryside of Sussex--the same environment where the author grew up. And like Gaiman, the child is wise, responsible, and moral beyond his years. The parents are blithely confident that nothing bad could happen to their brilliant bookish son in such a bucolic setting. But of course, bad things can, and do happen, especially to the pure and innocent...

The parents have no idea that the Hempstocks--an eleven-year-old girl, her mother, and grandmother--who live by a pond at the end of the lane, are really a group of immortals who play at being human.
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176 of 194 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting Story of Sacrifice and Growing Up June 18, 2013
By Ethan
Format:Hardcover
Over the course of his career, author Neil Gaiman has delighted readers with his storytelling abilities. His almost childlike sensibilities have allowed him to reach audiences through various mediums, spanning from comic books to more traditional children and adult literature. With his latest adult novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, he explores a dark story with enough whimsy and emotion to attract readers of all tastes.

The novel begins with a forty something year old man returning to the small English town where he grew up. His old home has long been demolished, but he is drawn instead to a dilapidated farmhouse at the end of the lane. When he arrives there, he begins to reflect on his childhood and the dark events that occurred at the place.

He was only seven years old when it began. A quiet boy, more at home with his nose in a book than playing with other children, he was an outcast within his own family. We learn that the family is struggling with money. They decide to move him from his own room to bunk with his sister, leaving an empty bed to rent out. With the arrival of the renter, a mysterious opal miner, dark events begin to occur.

The boy meets the three generations of Hempstock women who run the farm at the end of the lane. Lettie Hempstock, who claims to have been eleven years old for a very long time, immediately entrances the boy with her enchanting way with words and conviction that the pond that rests at the very end of the lane is actually an ocean. She agrees to allow him to tag along as she takes a trip to an odd place that lies somewhere between this world and the next. Upon their return from the strange place, an evil is released.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Neil Gaiman is one of those modern authors I automatically categorize as classic. I've loved his previous novels and all his little projects in between, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane solidifies his position as one of my all-time favorite writers.

Through a drowsy, overwhelming narrative, we follow the sudden, startling recollection of one man's past—one that is all of magical, terrible, and sobering. While visiting the little English country lane of his childhood, our unnamed protagonist reunites with a familiar face who prompts him to think of an old friend he hasn't thought about in years. Upon remembering one thing, he remembers everything.

Vividly Proust-like and told in calm, focused prose, this novel submerges readers into the sweet, wise, sometimes wondrous, and sometimes frightening mementos of a forgotten childhood, while expertly capturing the one-track mind of a seven-year-old boy. His memories immerse us into a world that is all of strange, fantastical, but still utterly believable—as well as introduce us to an intriguing character, Lettie Hempstock, who teaches us the most valuable lesson about being a friend.

The fantasy setting of the child's experiences is out of this world—literally. I don't know how Gaiman comes up with the most bizarre concepts and the most sinister of villains while still managing to sound so real, but he does it beautifully. The story definitely has dark undertones, but it is masked by the naïve tranquility of an ignorantly blissful child. Not only is this aspect of magical realism so smoothly incorporated, but the injustices and powerlessness of childhood are also exquisitely portrayed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars burble durble gurble burble
Never before have I seen anything mishandle a boring premise into an amazingly dumb result. Follow Generic Whiny Stupid Kid as he skips chapters at a time and paces the book like a... Read more
Published 6 hours ago by catnapper
5.0 out of 5 stars Entranced
I loved this book. I took it everywhere in case I could sneak in a moment to read it. Wherever I was, I would get right back into the magical, yet terrifying world of this book. Read more
Published 13 hours ago by S. Hargreaves
2.0 out of 5 stars No real depth, and nothing new here.
A real letdown.
Frankly, I thought it was pretty unremarkable. Once again, we meet the slightly odd child who meets really odd people who belong to some sort of bizarre world... Read more
Published 18 hours ago by Matthew Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Gaiman winner!
Gaiman's novels are always a good read. The main character is engaging and the story is intriguing. It makes you want to read more and more.
Published 23 hours ago by Avid reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Not at all what I expected but I really enjoyed it.
Published 1 day ago by Laura
5.0 out of 5 stars A Literary Masterpiece
Upon the reading of this novel, I felt confused, and at times, horrified. Gaiman left just enough information from this novel, so that it read as a dream. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Quinlyn Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars good long short story
The plot of this one wasn't enough to carry it for novel length. It was a great short story, though.

The story is from the POV of a man who comes home for a funeral. Read more
Published 1 day ago by bhr
4.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) A book about childhood and memory
“When they leave, they leave bemused, uncertain of why they came, of what they have seen, of whether they had a good time or not. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Kelly (Fantasy Literature)
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely human - dark and beautiful
I started and finished in a single day. The plot was charming and fanciful, but with a very serious undertone. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Brian Harris
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
ugh!
Published 2 days ago by sue glick
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More About the Author

I make things up and write them down. Which takes us from comics (like SANDMAN) to novels (like ANANSI BOYS and AMERICAN GODS) to short stories (some are collected in SMOKE AND MIRRORS) and to occasionally movies (like Dave McKean's MIRRORMASK or the NEVERWHERE TV series, or my own short film A SHORT FILM ABOUT JOHN BOLTON).

In my spare time I read and sleep and eat and try to keep the blog at www.neilgaiman.com more or less up to date.

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Kindle edition costs more..
lulu.com selling The Ocean at the End of the Lane for US 2.90 in digital format. Give a try, and you can have straight to your ipad.
Jul 8, 2013 by maely |  See all 3 posts
192 pages = A Novel
From a review I saw in another site, indeed the book is short.
Apr 10, 2013 by Asaf Shemesh |  See all 4 posts
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