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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel by [Neil Gaiman]

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

4.5 out of 5 stars 18,361 ratings

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*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 --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition. 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 --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B009NFHF0Q
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ William Morrow; Reissue edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ June 18, 2013
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1298 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 259 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,361 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
18,361 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 24, 2013
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 30, 2013
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 26, 2022
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Top reviews from other countries

4.0 out of 5 stars I expected a lot less
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 17, 2021
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4.0 out of 5 stars I expected a lot less
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 17, 2021
This is not a review of the book's literary merit, just the quality of the particular edition.

A nice treat for everyone fond of book illustrations.

Here’s the breakdown of the edition:
The binding is the main culprit here, as it tends to be nowadays. Unfortunately, it is hybrid, which means the individual signatures have been sewn but glued to each other afterwards. The book doesn’t open flat and with a volume of this thickness that can be a bother.
The paper is matte, slightly creamy-coloured, and of decent thickness (only barely see-through when you’re turning the pages).
The font size is regular, with good line spacing and huge margins from the edges, making the text easily readable.
The book itself is a perfect size for reading, about an inch longer in height than A5 books. However, it is quite heavy due to the thickness.
The overall design deserves a moment in the spotlight. The publisher did a great job there, favouring the illustrator’s work for the cover design over some graphic horror attempt made from scratch. Many books completely ruin the illustrator’s style with an unmatching, uninspired, flat design on the covers. Here, we get Elise Hurst’s own illustration with a hint of colour (unlike the black and white illustrations inside the covers). Equal treatment was given to the illustrated endpapers, also printed in shades of blue. The cover paper has a woven-like texture, imitating the feel of fabric, which is another delightful perk for readers who are tactile.
The biggest appeal is how generously illustrated the novel is. You get to witness a real symbiosis between a writer and an artist as nearly every page has some illustration on it, often merging with the text. There are countless full-page illustrations and several of them across both pages. The artistic style is quite subtle with loose lines, not too literal, giving the reader’s imagination plenty of opportunity to run wild.
Who is this edition for then? Neil Gaiman’s numerous fans go without saying, but book illustration enthusiasts should have plenty to appreciate, too. Book collectors, on the other hand, might be disappointed due to the hybrid binding but unless this particular novel gets a Folio Society treatment, I’d say it’s still a mile ahead of a common glued paperback.
As for the price, I’d rather pay more if it meant the book was smyth-sewn and as a result opened flat and was more durable.

That being said, I certainly didn’t expect to be barraged by over a hundred of beautiful illustrations and, for that reason alone, the edition is worth getting over an ordinary paperback, as long as you don’t struggle with heftier volumes.

Reviewing the edition published by Headline in 2019, illustrated by Elise Hurst, ISBN: 978 1 4722 6023 9, priced £14.78 at the time.
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12 people found this helpful
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P. Mortimer
3.0 out of 5 stars My husband has been trying to get me to read Good Omens for about twenty years
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on May 31, 2018
22 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars that is easy to read but touches on deeper themes in a ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on October 24, 2015
35 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on December 31, 2022
3 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Like a Stephen King story for younger readers
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 3, 2020
6 people found this helpful
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