The Ocean at the End of the Lane
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  114,865 ratings  ·  17,881 reviews
Sussex, England. 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 th...more
Hardcover, 181 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by William Morrow Books
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Community Reviews

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Sitting down to write a review of this book, I don't quite know where to start.

I was going to quote a passage that I particularly loved. But no good can come of that. Once I opened that door, where would I stop quoting?

So let me say this. I genuinely loved this book. I look forward to reading it again. I will buy copies for my family as gifts. I will listen to the audio and lament my own lack of narrative skill. I will gush about it to strangers.

In short, it is a Neil Gaiman novel.

There is t...more
Lettie shrugged. “Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.”
This story is an amalgam of helplessness and innocent ignorance of childhood with universe-old wisdom, with mystery and wonder and unexplainable and unfathomable and things that lurk around the corners of reality and seep through the cracks in the world. There's friendship and love, and cruelty and resentment. And there are mons...more
Emily May
Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.

This book is childhood.

Are all Neil Gaiman books like this? So beautifully, hauntingly nostalgic? I confess, this is my first; but right now I am logging into amazon to make sure it isn't my last. I have one criticism, which is that this book isn't really an adult book. The few adult scenes felt added...more
"All monsters are scared.
That's why they're monsters."

48 hours ago, when I read the last page for the first time, I had this strange, sad feeling. Like I had come to the end of something beautiful without really comprehending the beauty of it until the last minute.

Which is why it took me a re-read to realize how brilliant this book is.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is childhood in 181 pages.

Short. Sweet. Magical. Scary. Real.

There is a reason this book is labelled as "adult" and it has nothin...more
It's kinda ridiculous how much I want to read this book.

I'm seriously considering abusing my small amount of power to see if I can wangle and ARC out of somebody....
David Monroe
Dec 04, 2013 David Monroe marked it as to-read
I want to read this book so much.

In the acknowledgments section of his latest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman admits that the project was initially meant to be a short story, which grew to be a novel - not a very long novel, but a novel nonetheless. For fans it was big news, as it would be his first novel for adults since 2005's Anansi Boys.

I was never really into Gaiman's work - I wasn't crazy about American Gods or Neverwhere and Coraline, all of which are routinely mentioned as fan favorites. I loved Sta...more
Dan Schwent
While in his home town for a funeral, a middle aged man drives to the site of his parents' former home and visits visits the farm at the end of the road, where he remembers some curious events from when he was seven...

First off, I'll get the gripes out of the way. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is marketed as Gaiman's first adult novel since Anansi Boys. It feels a lot more like a young adult novel, more akin to the Graveyard Book or Coraline than American Gods. Secondly, it's only 175 pages l...more
Jan 06, 2014 Mitch rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: introverts and people born before 1980, apparently
Update - 7/5
I've been seeing a lot of different responses to my criticisms and I want to make some clarifications about my feelings (Warning: major spoilers)
(view spoiler)...more
Will Byrnes
Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but aren’t.
I turned 7 early in third grade. It was a memorable school year because I had for a teacher a nun with a reputation. Sister Evangelista was about 5 foot nuthin’, and symmetrical. If the what’s black and white, black and white, black and white – a nun ro...more
Valya Lupescu
This is my favorite of Neil Gaiman’s books so far—a haunting novel about sacrifice, boundaries, and things remembered. So many twisted and tattered new characters to get into our heads and under our skin. Once again, Neil does what he does so well: he takes us by the hand and introduces us to a dark, tangled corner of the universe full of things that make us shiver and hold our breath in the dark.

Authentic and compelling, there’s much beneath the surface of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Lik...more
Although completely different from its predecessor, The Ocean at The End of the Lane is Gaiman's best work since American Gods. Whereas American Gods and much of Gaiman's (often mediocre) work since 2003 focus on at-arm's-length "give the people what they want" monster and weirdness storytelling, The Ocean of the Lane feels like the book Gaiman was trying to write when he wrote Coraline and The Graveyard Book. Deeply personal but not quite autobiographical, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is de...more
Certainly not Gaiman's best, this one is a bit of an odd duck. Advertised as an adult novel (in contrast to Gaiman's young adult or children fiction, not because it's porn or something), the book doesn't really feel like such. Having read most of the author's body of work, I can't help but find this one much more reminiscent of, or akin to, works like "Coraline" or "The Graveyard Book", both in content and lenght, than say "Neverwhere" or the awesome "American Gods."

Someone told me a couple of...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Sussex, England. 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 pa...more
★ Jess
I read this in one sitting. It's closer to 3.5 really, so maybe I'll round it up later. It depends how this book ages. Not quite as good as Gaiman's usual work, plot wise at least, though I still enjoyed it. He writes so well. However, it did feel uncharacteristically jumbled at times. I think I might have enjoyed this more if the focus was more on the narrator's reflection of his childhood, rather than getting bogged down by the detail of the fantasy elements. Whatever, Neil still rocks my sock...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Mar 02, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: The child within
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Nataliya
Gaiman’s my go-to guy for a fairytale fix, love his lyrical style. Reads like a child’s nightmare, haunting, claustrophobic but not entirely grim. With monsters and hunger birds to battle "Huge, they were and sleek, and ancient, and it hurt my eyes to look at them." the nameless boy in this is not nearly as tough as Coraline. Luckily he's got the Hemstock women as back-up, Maiden, Mother & Crone, and just like in “Coraline” a reclusive cat to lend him comfort - when it’s so inclined:) Toute...more
Can a pond being an ocean? Sure! Why not? Once you can get to accept that, you will enjoy a wonderful book. And I think that Neil Gaiman was a genius even deciding the length of the book. Sure, the initial intention was to make a short story that ended in a novel, but at 181 pages of length, it's most likely a novella. However, that's the beauty of the concept. Can a book being a library? Mmh ;) Since, in these 181 pages, I got a fairy tale, a horror story, a family drama; also I got adventure,...more
Melissa Marr
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is conceptually unlike anything else out there, and--as is typical of Neil's writing--a beautifully crafted story with moments of the kind of wisdom one finds in the very best books. He remains my absolute favourite living author, and this book is yet another reason why.
I make art, sometimes I make true art, and sometimes it fills the empty places in my life. Some of them. Not all.

The book begins like this. A grown man tells you what he is wearing, and from this, you understand. This is the aftermath in the death of a loved one. Though he's expected back at his sister's house, he can't bear to go back, to field the questions and catch-up conversations he knows he will be holding with people he hasn't seen in years. Instead, he goes for a drive, past the childho...more
”I couldn’t get you to the ocean,” she said. “But there was nothing stopping me bringing the ocean to you.”
It’s gorgeous. It’s a magical, poetic and imaginative: 180 pages of absolute ... gorgeousness.
If you're anything like me, chances are you will adore this boy from the start: Here is a 7 year old boy that is considered ‘weird’ because he likes books more than anything else in the world. And chapter 1 starts with: “No-one came to my seventh birthday party”, this despite plenty of cake avai...more
Jul 07, 2013 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: fantasy
Let me start out by giving some perspective. First I think Neil Gaiman is an exceptional writer and very talented. I've heard his motivational talks (such as, "Make Good Art"), and he is witty and inspirational.

I'm not however, a huge reader of his work. I read Neverwhere and really liked it. Startdust I felt was "okay." My biggest problem with that one was that I felt the romance was not based on anything other than the standard, "two people spend some time traveling together and fall in love."...more
Megan Baxter
Neil Gaiman has this uncanny ability to make the strange familiar, and to draw on the familiar and make it something unearthly. The weaving together of recognizable life with unmistakable magic is enthralling, and here, in this book about returning to the source, to childhood, to memories long and perhaps best forgotten, he weaves another spell that has some of the creepiness of Coraline, but with a more adult tinge.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Go...more
Sarah (saz101)
A hero doesn't always need a name. Or to be particularly heroic. Sometimes the most memorable heroes are the most unassuming. Yet the unnamed protagonist of The Ocean at the End of the Lane--a grown man reflecting back on his seven year old self--is not so much a hero as a mirror, and familiar as an old friend.

When a seven year old boy finds himself caught up in the aftermath of a houseguest's death, a doorway is opened to another world--a world of nightmares and fairytale monsters, of magical...more
Neil Gaiman returns to fiction with his first young adult book since the last young adult book he wrote. Anyone who tells you that it's not YA is clearly somebody who reads far too much YA and should be disregarded as scurrilous fanboys. TOATEOTL has more in common with Coraline than it does the much more substantial American Gods and that is a real shame indeed.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a painfully nostalgic look back at the authors own childhood of reading books filled with exciting...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I'm not putting this on my Urban Fantasy shelf as it's not urban even though it's arguably set in the present...sort of.

Here I go. I had this recommended to me by no less than 2 of my friends and probably more than 2. I see all the 4 and 5 ratings and I can see why. The book started to draw me in.

Our "hero" leaves a funeral gathering of somberness and just drives. he finds himself at the home of a girl he knew when he was a boy. She's somehow "slid" from his conscious memories for, "all these ye...more
Crystal Starr Light
I honestly tried to write a plot summary, but every time I try, the words come out clunky and stupid. Who would be interested in the book I was trying to summarize? How does my plot summary do justice to the beautiful book I hold in my hands?

So, if you really want to know what this is about, do yourself a favor and glance at the plot summary on the cover blurb. For once, the blurb is supremely done and accurately depicts the contents of the book.

There are times in your life that you can feel gr...more
It would be unfair to call this a review. This is not a review. This is a response, a reaction. I have just finished reading The Ocean At The End Of The Lane. I bought it about two hours ago; I started and finished it in around an hour and a half. My chest hurts. Really, everything hurts, but that is, as always, the epicentre of the swelling bruise I became when reading this book.

I can’t say whether that was the intention. I doubt Neil Gaiman wakes up each morning and thinks to himself, ‘Now how...more

4.5 Stars

I had no idea what this book was about when I bought it. All I needed to know was Neil Gaiman wrote it. Bam, boom in the basket! And down the narrow, bumpy Lane we go….

Even if the cover, title and author were hidden from me though—I would still know it was a Gaiman tale. His worlds, words, and ways are unique and something some place special to visit and experience. Truth be told….*whispers* the cats and kittens always give him away. Haha... Every nook and cranny of every single page ho...more
Dec 04, 2013 Ronyell rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Huge fans of Neil Gaiman's works!!!

Now, I have been reading Neil Gaiman’s works for many years now and I have been enjoying most of his works (my personal favorites being Coraline, the “Sandman” series, Neverwhere, and The Graveyard Book). So, imagine my amazement and delight when I realized that Neil Gaiman had a new book coming out called “The Ocean at the End of the Lane!” And before I knew it, I immediately ran to the bookstore to buy this book and I started reading it right away! I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised...more
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

Neil Gaiman is a fairly good at writing books that will entertain all ages. I suppose he even sometimes has a difficult time deciding what genre his next novel should be categorized, since his story can range from children to YA to adult books.

I don’t necessarily have much to say about 'The ocean at the end of lane', besides essentially that it was a crossroad between children and an adult novel.

The novel commences with a middle-aged men who after he attends a funeral,...more
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“Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.” 832 likes
“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.” 704 likes
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