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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel Paperback – June 3, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 16,447 ratings

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Popular Highlights in this book

From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

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

“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)

“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

“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)

“[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

“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

“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

“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)

“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

“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

From the Back Cover

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

A groundbreaking work as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ William Morrow (June 3, 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 181 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0062255665
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0062255662
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 5 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 0.7 x 5.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,447 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fun shirt, BUT,
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Like the shirt but they must’ve run short on ink when they printed it. The distressed look is fine but this one was a little too distressed.
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V.
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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