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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 (2,647 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $25.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $18.00 (69%)
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: 372 KB
  • Print Length: 259 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062278592
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009NFHF0Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #864 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
709 of 735 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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167 of 184 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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137 of 162 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly let down June 25, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
While Neil Gaiman's storytelling is always very beautifully done, I was a mildly disappointed with Ocean at the End of the Lane. I read in the epilogue that the book was originally poised to be a short story--and that shows. It felt exactly like I read a short story. There was very little character development, and I was left wanting more from the story.

It also didn't feel very adult to me. There are a few scenes thrown in that indeed make it adult, but it didn't read that way. Seemed like the adult scenes were somewhat of an afterthought so it could be sold as adult fiction.

If you are expecting one of the epic worlds and tales that Gaiman usually creates, it's not in this book. While I still think it was beautifully written and enjoyed it, I was left a bit disappointed.

I hope this is helpful!
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181 of 224 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but feels a little worn out June 24, 2013
By arpan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I will begin this review by admitting that I am a long time fan of fiction written by Gaiman. I started out with American Gods and went back and forth through his bibliography - novels, teleplays and graphic novels - all the stuff.

When I started out reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane I had no idea if it was a mythical story or a regular novel about childhood. I had heard it was an adult novel but still...

I will be upfront about it - the book is good. It entertains you, binds you and even makes you wonder for some time. However, even as I read it, I felt that I had read it all before. In American Gods, in Sandman, in Anansi boys... the idea that mythical creatures exist in the same world as us today, and talk the same tongue as us, and are nonchalant about it - it has been done before and Gaiman has done it better.
The novelty of that concept, of Gods talking to men and women of our day in our lingo, and admitting to stuff like "That stuff is old, it was here before the Sun or the Moon came up in the sky" even as they talk about milking the cows, wears off after a while. Then you think about what the story is, and you find out it - its not that meaty after all. Worse, the author seems to be reveling in the knowledge of the fact that only he knows what is really going on - who the Lempstocks are, who the "fleas" are, and the varmints as well. Hints are dropped and clues left behind, but these - unlike in American Gods - are never resolved. There is perhaps a reason for that. Maybe the protagonist of the novel is too young to be bothered about knowing who are the deities he is interacting with? But do you - as a reader - not care too? The answer to that question would determine how happy/unhappy you would be with this novel, which for all its beauty and moments of joy and wonder - is incomplete.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging
I just read this all in one sitting. Very engaging, an amazing construction of sentences and images! I hope there's a sequel.
Published 4 hours ago by Laura
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastical
Like Coroline, Ocean tells a story of a child learning that his world is not what it seems, and he must fight to discover its true nature in order to recover this family and his... Read more
Published 10 hours ago by Nipith
4.0 out of 5 stars disquieted
I wish the story had gone on. Too short, for such a rich tale. Reminded me of the gunslinger series by Stephen king in some of the storyline.
Published 12 hours ago by Kathleen
2.0 out of 5 stars Mystical story is only ok
This book was a gift, so I didn't pick it out myself. It was ok. I found this story kinda strange, one part disturbing and the rest nothing special.
Published 13 hours ago by gisele turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story
I'm not much of a reviewer, but I just had to say something about this book.

This was the first Gaiman novel I've ever read, and it blew me away. Read more
Published 14 hours ago by Zach
4.0 out of 5 stars Eerie and Original
This is my first Neil Gaiman book… now I see what all the fuss is about. Eerie and cool, with crazy plot twists and fantasy aspects. I'll look for more of his books based on this.
Published 17 hours ago by Loves to Read
4.0 out of 5 stars Gaimin has created some magic of his own with this book!
I really enjoyed this book. It was unusual, reminiscent of old fables. So many books these days are echoes of each other, with a predictable cast and plot. Read more
Published 21 hours ago by Tracey Abikhair
4.0 out of 5 stars i really enjoyed this book
I was engrossed in this fantasy story... though it took a while for me to realise it was more than just past memories! Read more
Published 22 hours ago by adenjack
3.0 out of 5 stars Reality with a touch of fantasy
Fantasy is not my preference, but the writing is good and the characters are well developed. I liked the Graveyard Book better.
Published 23 hours ago by b-roughs
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid
This book is like an exquisite slice of cake. You've eaten it all up before you know it but are thoroughly satisfied.
Published 1 day ago by Chris Panagakis
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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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Topic From this Discussion
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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