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The Ocean at the End of the Lane

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  224,860 ratings  ·  29,156 reviews
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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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S. K. Pentecost
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Chris Thomas Both. In the interview at the end, Gaiman says "it is for anyone who has ever been seven years old."
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5th out of 618 books — 3,243 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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 mon
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 adde
"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 nothi
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
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.

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
Can a pond being an ocean? Sure! Why not?


Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside.

Once you can get to accept that a pond likely can be a whole ocean, you will then enjoy this wonderful book.

I think that Neil Gaiman, the author, was a genius even deciding the length of the book.

Sure, the initial intention was to make a short story that ended inton being a novel, but at 181 pages of length, it's most likely a novella.

However, th
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 r
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)
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
Mohammed Arabey

هل هي دراما اجتماعية أم واقعية سحرية ، فانتازيا حضرية أم لعلها فانتازيا عالية..أم هي رواية رمزية؟
كل هذا قد يتجمع في عالم واحد..عقل الأطفال، باﻷخص هؤلاء ذوي الخيال

طفل وكتاب وقطة صغيرة، طعم الخبز اﻷسمر وتوست أبيض بلا طعم، المربي البيتي بالقطع و كوب اللبن 'المحلوب' لتوه
القمر عندما يكون بدرا كبيرا مصفر اللون، فكر قليلا وقل لي بصراحة...متي أخر مرة نظرت فيها إلي القمر؟
جو الريف، بحيرة البط الصغيرة التي كنا نراها محيطا...المحيط الذي بأخر الحارة

هي قصة صبي .. بلا اسم .. نهم للقراءة عاشق للكتب.
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
Whoopsie daisy, it's unpopular opinion time again. As I scroll through the Goodreads page of this book, I only find raving reviews. Four and five stars aplently, a rare three stars at the least. And here I am, positively convinced that Neil Gaiman is a terrific author, yet the two books I've read of him were completely underwhelming.

Thing is, I have no idea what the hell I just read. It was bizarre and weird and, quite frankly, not in a good way.

But I am not giving up. I will find a Neil Gaiman
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
A really truly beautiful book.
Aj the Ravenous Reader
3.5 stars

"The truth is there aren’t any grown-ups, not one in the whole wide world."

Aside from a few movie adaptations of Neil Gaiman's novels, the only thing I know about him is that readers seem to love his writing.

After reading this book, I finally understand why.

His writing is GLORIOUS . There is something very timeless and symbolic with the way he writes (this book at least).

This, like Paulo Coelho's haunting and mystifying tales, has the same intention of teaching the reader impo
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
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Apr 12, 2015 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
★ 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
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
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."
Jan 10, 2015 Laz rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone, really
This book is huge. It's a tremendous read. It's an amazing story of child horrors and understanding what the word 'sacrifice' really means.

This book starts off with our narrator arriving to his hometown and remembering his 7th birthday party in which every child's fear came true; no one came. His parents owned a big house which they later started renting rooms from in order to get through their financial difficulties. Our narrator, the hero of this book is a loner, a boy of 7 who has no friends
Kat O'Keeffe
I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into this book, but it hooked me right away and I couldn't put it down until I had finished. It's a very strange and beautiful story with gorgeous writing and fantastic imagery. And even though it's a bit on the short side, this is the kind of story that lingers, and I'm sure I'll end up thinking about it again and again. I haven't read much by Neil Gaiman previously, but I love his style of storytelling and I'll definitely be reading more of his novels i ...more
This wonderful, magical book is a great example of the way fantasy should be written. The story begins with its feet firmly planted in our "real" world and then almost imperceptibly takes us to a "fantastic" world. Like all good fantasies, the fantastic world has enough similarities to our every day life to make it believable. The monsters that scare us in that world are not-so-distant cousins to the monsters that scare us here - even if here we call them by more abstract names or even if here w ...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 ava
2.5 stars - Spoilers

The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a bit of an odd read, I was just left thinking what was the bloody point of it all. I guess it was still somewhat enjoyable despite it lacking an enigmatic narrator, and an overall sense of purpose.


-How short it was.
-Loved the setting - Sussex, the lane, the big house. They were depicted really well and gave things a dream like quality.
-The time period made things seem more magical and romantic.
-Lettie Hempstock and her family were q
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“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.” 1868 likes
“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.” 1641 likes
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