Ocean at the End of the Lane

Illustrated Edition

288 pages

English language

Published April 7, 2020 by Headline Publishing Group.

ISBN:
9781472260222

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (152 reviews)

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, 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.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly …

37 editions

Short and mostly sweet

4 stars

I guess it is long for a novella, but short for a novel. That means there is not a lot of room to build up characters. The protagonist is a bookish but uncomplicated boy but e.g. the parents are mostly ciphers.

It's an engaging story, I finished it in a few sessions, something I don't do very often these days. It feel very English, and very Rural, which isn't what I remember of Gaiman. It doesn't really break any new ground, but it well crafted, and the setting is more completely related than the characters.

It does have some scenes that would probably give sensitive souls (and children) nightmares.

Review of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I was rather underwhelmed by this book, Gaiman is a great writer and can take the reader on some stunning adventures but this book feels more like an idea for a story instead of a finished product. It might be that due to the story being from the point of view of a young child Gaiman has limited the language and story. There was a lot of potential here to create a story full of magic and wonder and that just never takes off.

I'd avoid this one and pick up one of his many other great stories.

Review of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a powerful story - about childhood, about memory, about being human. It's a beautiful book, in its own right - a story told through the eyes of a child, that managed to capture the essence of childhood so perfectly well, that I find it surprising that it was written by an adult.

The main character was simple - he is a young child, after all - but, to me, that was part of the beauty of it. As simple as the character was, he was actually relatable. How he saw the world around him, how he saw the adults of his life, all brought back memories of my own childhood, making me remember how I saw the world around me and my parents - and, in a way, how I still see them.

The other characters were interesting, mystical, and yet, …

Review of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I honestly want to use this book as a teaching tool for how to describe the amazing, salivating power of describing delicious food from a perspective of narrative memory. Every time a part of the story delved into the tastes, smells, and textures of food, I felt like I needed to look up a recipe on whatever was being talked about.

I liked the story. The creature from another place. The violent possession and manipulation of his father. The memory of what was witnessed in the car. The narrative telling of a dark childhood, and the reaching for memories that seemed lost and blurry - brought back to the foreground by coming back around the childhood home.

A good, short read of dark fantasy.

Review of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

My second Gaiman book. A story I liked, filled with fantasy, mystery and nostalgia; made me think about my childhood years; in a similar way such as the protagonist reflected on half remembered adventures and things that were true back then but aren’t anymore. With wonders and fears, amazement and disappointments. I think most of us can relate to some of that.

I enjoyed the narration by Gaiman, personally getting a longing feeling from it that just adds to the mystery of the story.

Review of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I loved this more than anything else I've read recently. Gaiman just has a way of drawing you into the world right away and keeping you there until he's done with you. Hearing him read this was also amazing and made the hold even stronger. I was more than a bit sad when it was over, actually. This made me want to read the rest of his work that I haven't gotten to yet, and revisit the stuff that I have already read.

Review of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I love Neil Gaiman's modern-day fairy tales. The Ocean at the End of the Lane tells the story of a middle-aged man who comes back to his old neighborhood and remembers a pretty unbelievable part of his childhood.

Gaiman's story is a pretty good story about the troubles of growing up and losing the things that were precious to us as kids.

This was a great read, I had trouble putting it down from the second I picked it up.

Review of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' on 'Storygraph'

3 stars

The narrator visits the house at the end of the lane on which he grew up. The same family still lives there. He recalls some particular events of his childhood involving the family at the end if the lane.

The story has the vague sort of quality that is shared by both half-forgotten childhood memories and half-remembered dreams. The narrator as a child may not fully understand what he sees but, unlike an adult, he doesn't question it.

I enjoyed this book and would rate it closer to a 3.5 because it was very interesting and almost nostalgic and I wouldn't mind reading it again.

Review of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Lots of wonderful imagery, and he captures nostalgia quite well. There are some very uncomfortable scenes in the middle, which was surprising. I thought this book would be another child's tale like Coraline, but it really is a tale about middle age and memory. I thought it spent too much time in the nethers. The best parts I thought, were in the present, not the past. Even preferred the epilogue to the middle part of the book. Harsh?

Review of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I can't read Neil Gaiman's books. But I can listen to him read his books all day long. It's like having Paddington Bear read you a bedtime story while you're tucked safely in your childhood bed on a cold winter's night. I didn't like this book as much as The Graveyard Book, but I still enjoyed it. I felt the ending was very appropriate and would have been upset if everything had been tied-up neatly with a nice little bow.

Review of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

So, my very first taste of Neil Gaiman's writing. I found it weird, a bit strange and very odd. Gaiman pulls you in with his descriptive language and I was really curious where this book was going to end up. For me, it felt like reading a Salvador Dali painting. Very melty. That said, I may read Gaiman books again, but they're not at the top of my reading list. :)

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