Patrick's Reviews > The Ocean At The End of the Lane

The Ocean At The End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
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Dec 22, 13

bookshelves: books-i-would-blurb
Read in May, 2013


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 truth here, and beauty, and joy, and a sad, sweet melancholy that moves through my chest like distant thunder.

I realize that what I am writing here is not really a review in any conventional sense. It is a paen. A panegyric. It is the textual equivalent of a huge, happy, gormless grin.

And you know what? I'm fine with that. Let the professionals write their reviews. Let them get all jargony about it. Let them try to pin this book to the page, not realizing that a pinned butterfly holds no delight. A pinned butterfly is nothing like a butterfly at all.

I make no claims to impartiality in regard to Gaiman's work. Sandman changed how I thought about stories. Neverwhere was a talisman for me. Stardust is a golden bell hung in my heart. And American Gods taught me that there was a *name* for the sort of book I was struggling to write. It was a picaresque.

So if you're looking for impartiality, this is not the review for you. Look elsewhere.

Me? I will enjoy The Ocean at the End of the Lane without dissection. It made me happy. It made me feel less alone. It made me love Neil Gaiman a little more than I already did, and that's something I didn't think was possible.

Do I hope to someday write a book like this? No. I never could. He's done something odd and strange and lovely here. I couldn't hope to replicate it.

Instead, this is what I hope.

In the future, when Joss Whedon and I are best friends and hanging out together in my tree fort, I hope Neil Gaiman comes over too. Because then the three of us will all play Settlers of Catan together. And I will win, because I'm really great at Settlers of Catan. But I will also be very gracious about it, and apologize for putting the bandit on Gaiman's wheat twice in a row.

Then we will make smores, and I will toast a marshmallow with such deftness and perfection that they will be amazed and realize I am kinda cool. Then we will talk about Battlestar Galactica, and which Doctor is our favorite, and we will tell ghost stories late into the night.

God I'm tired. I should really go to sleep. I have no idea what I'm saying anymore.

I hope I don't regret this in the morning.
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Reading Progress

05/31/2013 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 211) (211 new)


Jeraviz This is exactly what I feel reading your books


message 2: by Jack (new)

Jack Any chance you could write this in blurb size? I'm sure it'd be a lovely endorsement for the book.


Patrick Heh. Gaiman doesn't need a blurb from the likes of me....


message 4: by John (new)

John I have the same feeling when I read your books. But, you have made me curios about Gaiman. Unkown for me. Thanks for the advice, and please, keep on writing!


Patrick Wow. It's baffling to me that someone who has read my books hasn't read Gaiman....


Jonathan Excellent to hear, I know I'm going to like this now!!!


Lisa That's the kind of review I like! My Friday book allowance shall be well spent.

Now go sleep you lovable insomniac.


message 8: by Alec (new)

Alec I tried the audio of American Gods and only made it a fifth of the way in, it seems I must pick back up his works.

Also, I'm currently struggling with a girlfriend who is very slow at reading NotW any chance you could write just a couple words encouraging her to read it even if her prom is tomorrow and graduation in two weeks? (her calling name is Sandra)


message 9: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie I read Stardust because of your recommendation. I will definitely check this out. As soon as I finish with the fantasy list you posted from Buzzfeed :)


Ivanesca God, you're such a perfect human being, Pat. I'd like to write a review like this for your books, since "there is truth here, and beauty, and joy, and a sad, sweet melancholy that moves through my chest like distant thunder."
I hate you so much, Rothfuss, go away. And yeah, I'm positive that I'm going to give Gaiman's book a chance now.


message 11: by Raquel (last edited May 31, 2013 02:54AM) (new)

Raquel Sorensen Pre-ordered! I've never read Gaiman either and I absolutely LOOOVEEEE your books. I even bought into the Torment kickstart and I'm going back to my old gaming ways just because of you are writing a character. You are the man! :-)


message 12: by Ness (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ness "Stardust is a golden bell hung in my heart" ... Your words. So good. Left in goosebumps.

When you have your treehouse filled with my story-hero-gods can I camp at the bottom? I'll bring you snacks and fill your drinks and you won't even know I'm there.


message 13: by Vee (new)

Vee Years ago, I tried reading Anansi Boys. It's one of the few books that I've ever set down and never returned to. It was my first foray into Gaiman's novels, and left a sour taste in my mouth.

Your adoration for this book has led me to be willing to give Neil's works another try. Perhaps I'll start with Stardust. If one of my favorite authors loves it so much, it's got to at least be worth my time.


message 14: by Jesús (new)

Jesús If you like picaresque novels I think that you have read Lazarillo de Tormes? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazarill...

Greetings from Spain!


message 15: by John (new)

John When I read my first book from Patrick Rothfuss I wrote a superlative-review of it on my blog http://www.skrivehula.no/2013/02/vind...
Translated, in short: This is among the best fantasy I've ever read.


message 16: by Akshay (new) - added it

Akshay Sharma Patrick wrote: "Wow. It's baffling to me that someone who has read my books hasn't read Gaiman...."

Simply because you write better than most if not all.
(No flattering just fact)


message 17: by Jasmine (new) - added it

Jasmine Me I already think Gaiman is a genius, but I admit you review makes me want to read him even more..added to shelf :)


Belinda Lewis ".... because sometimes the shape a story makes is like a key turning inside me and I cannot do anything but weep."

Actually made me cry a little *sniff*; so beautiful to see an unarticulated emotion written down for the first time.


message 19: by Roberta (last edited May 31, 2013 04:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Roberta If you have never read Gaiman, I would start with Stardust, as it seems the most "accessible" Gaiman book for fantasy fans. I started with American Gods, and it blew me away. Still one of the best books ever. (NotW was pretty darn good, too). I need to order this one.


message 20: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly Egan This review is perfect. I know exactly how you feel Pat. Man what a tree house extravaganza that would be! Best review ever. x


message 21: by Jeanette (new) - added it

Jeanette Patrick wrote: "Wow. It's baffling to me that someone who has read my books hasn't read Gaiman...."

I am always amazed at the number of readers that have not read Gaiman.

I have this on my to read list, was going to wait until a time I could relax and enjoy it, but i may have to move it closer to the top of the pile.


message 22: by Kat (new) - added it

Kat Gaiman is brilliant. I look forward to reading this book. I already did, but more so after your review.


Maria Could I also be invited to the Whedon/Gaiman bff club? I do possess some superior marshmallow toasting skills to contribute to the collective.


message 24: by Jay (new)

Jay Gregory Now, this is the sort of review that makes me buy a book!


Stacey This made me feel all tingly and warm inside.


message 26: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin Sanderson Didn't really need to be so skillfully wooed (but I certainly was) because I love Neil's stuff. Will be checking it out. Pat, my favorite thing about reading your posts is that I always find a new "word of the day" and you make me feel smarter. Today's post had 2 so now I feel doubly smart! :)


message 27: by Dichotomy Girl (last edited May 31, 2013 06:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dichotomy Girl I really want to get in on that tree fort action! Can I bribe you with a Star Trek version of Catan, and 4 toy light sabers?

(edited, because my original post asked "can I bride you", which I'm sure has some kind of deep psychological meaning that my husband would fail to appreciate)


Stephanie I preordered an autographed copy, and honestly thought I couldn't be more excited about it. ^_^


Lindsay I can't wait to get my copy of the book. I pre-ordered when it first appeared on Barnes and Noble website. So I've been anxiously awaiting for it to arrive in the mail for sometime now. :)


message 30: by Pam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pam Lovely response to his book. One of my first conversations with my husband when we met was about Gaiman's books, and now we are going to see him in Portland near our first wedding anniversary. His writing is balm to this English teacher's heart, and now I'm even more excited for his reading and my copy of the book. Thank you.


message 31: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason This is without a doubt the most entertaining book review I have ever read. Consider me convinced.


Manda Patrick wrote: "Wow. It's baffling to me that someone who has read my books hasn't read Gaiman...."

You introduced me to Neil Gaiman too. I went through a small binge a few months ago. Thank you!


message 33: by Arjun (new)

Arjun Kantamneni Such a lovely review.


message 34: by Sara (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sara Patrick wrote "In the future, when Joss Whedon and I are best friends and hanging out together in my tree fort, I hope Neil Gaiman comes over too."

And then the world would explode because there would be too much awesome in one place. Settlers of Catan is amazing, but not nearly as amazing as this review. As if I wasn't already excited about this book!


Anthony Snow I have to say, Kingkiller is one of my favorite series of all time (which says something since it isn't even done yet). I burned through both of them while I was deployed, and they ate up two whole days (would have been 1.5, but I had to sleep at some point). That being said, I'm a huge Gaiman fan as well (read American Gods while deployed as well and pretty much went out and bought his whole catalog of books as well as Sandman). So it fills me with so much joy when an author I love shares that passion with me. That, and I hope to let my beard become as impressive as yours.


message 36: by Evan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Evan Kennedy To eveyrone who's never read Gaiman: read American Gods. It's incredible, a beautiful inimitable novel, and besides that, when the show comes out on HBO you'll be able to turn up your nose at all those plebians who like the show but haven't heard of the book because You Read The Book and The Book Is Better. xD


message 37: by Miri (new)

Miri Oh... God.
I'm enraptured.
I don't even comment on things and I need to comment because I want so badly.

Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, with you being in the same circle. It absolutely astounds me to see what are essentially my gods, being people, who do people stuff, like review books that they like.

So, thank you for reviewing Neil Gaiman's book. And thank you for writing your books. I can't wait to read any and all. Thank you.


message 38: by Kevin (new) - added it

Kevin Gray Well there has yet to be a good comment about Anansi Boys, which is a real shame because I think it is a great attempt by Neil to deliver humour on a level with Douglas.

So to do what you did not do. I loved your review and can not wait till the book arrives in the UK (Oh why are we waiting ?)

"It is the textual equivalent of a huge, happy, gormless grin." split my face in two and made me want to walk over to the US so that I could just buy the book and read it now.


message 39: by Doug (new) - added it

Doug Patrick wrote: "Wow. It's baffling to me that someone who has read my books hasn't read Gaiman...."

I haven't read any of Gaiman's stuff - yet. In fact, I only recently discovered your own work through the Torment Kickstarter. I'm about half-way through The Wise Man's Fear. I do, however, have both American Gods and Good Omens awaiting my appraisal on my Kindle device.


message 40: by Emiliano (new)

Emiliano "And apologize for putting the bandit on Gaiman's wheat twice in a row."

you cruel human being...


message 41: by Judy (new)

Judy Chun You still amaze me with your ability to put words together and the unique way you have to tell stories. You are right about Gaiman as well. I owe my son for turning me on to both of you!


Patrick Emiliano wrote: ""And apologize for putting the bandit on Gaiman's wheat twice in a row."

you cruel human being..."


I am. I'm a monster, really....


message 43: by Eric (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eric Patrick, forget Settlers of Catan, you three should play the Pathfinder RPG. Imagine the great characters and stories you three would come up with! If you all did that and filmed it for the net, the hits on those videos would be astronomical!
But yes, I am above and beyond excited for this book. Thank you!


message 44: by Red (last edited May 31, 2013 01:23PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Red gaiman is amazing. his work is a dream that some brilliant mind dreams, and then transmits to the reader. but you ain't no hack, either!


message 45: by Lily (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lily Knol I love Neil Gaiman's writing just like you do, and I love yours, as well! PLEASE publish the next book in your series SOON! Please?


message 46: by Leah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leah That was lovely. Thank you.


Jelena "Then we will make smores, and I will toast a marshmallow with such deftness and perfection that they will be amazed and realize I am kinda cool. Then we will talk about Battlestar Galactica, and which Doctor is our favorite, and we will tell ghost stories late into the night."

This review just made my day.


message 48: by Kay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kay Stevens I'm a huge fan of Neil Gaiman, as well. Now that I've read this 'blurb' of yours, I'll be off in search of my first Patrick Rothfuss book.


message 49: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue this review made me weep with delight. If you are ever in Chicago, I challenge you to to a game of Settlers on a board made of different colored sugar cookies. Just saying.

NOW QUIT WRITING REVIEWS AND BRING ME MORE KVOTHE.


Elena I agree with Kay. I am a huge fan of American Gods in particular, and follow Neil pretty closely, so we seem to be on a similar page. I will be looking into what you've written as well. :)


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