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The Ocean at the End of the Lane

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  319,508 Ratings  ·  36,433 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, 178 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by William Morrow Books
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S. K. Pentecost
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Ale Whenever you start forgetting how was it like to be a kid. A young teen could read it, but probably wouldn't enjoy it as much as an adult.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 31, 2013 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Feb 10, 2013 Nataliya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
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
Jun 24, 2013 Emily May rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, magical-realism
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
Oct 26, 2012 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 07, 2013 David Monroe marked it as to-read
I want to read this book so much.

Sep 20, 2014 Inge rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 08, 2013 Alejandro rated it it was amazing
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
Dan Schwent
Nov 08, 2012 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
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
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
Aug 12, 2014 Fabian rated it really liked it
Everything you need to know about "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" is right there in the title. The Ocean it alludes to is deep (fathom-deep as the true meanings of family & love & death); blue (icy like the Coraline's motherspider antagonist-- the demonic Nanny McPhee in the middle of the story; cold like the rigidity of death, the panic of succumbing to childhood traumas); vast (like the leitmotifs spread out in elegant splendor along the narrative, tokens of the writer's impressive ...more
Mohammed Arabey
Jun 07, 2015 Mohammed Arabey rated it it was amazing

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 لبن 'محلوب' 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
أخيرا صرت ووالدي أصدقاء ببلوغي العشرينات. كان بيننا القليل جدا م
Jun 19, 2013 Mitch rated it liked it
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)
Jennifer Masterson
May 15, 2016 Jennifer Masterson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, fantasy
I absolutely loved "The Ocean at the End of the Lane"! I wish it had been longer! I'm late to the party, so so late to the party!

This novel was much darker then I expected it to be. It is also so well-written! I mean the writing is just beautiful!!!

A middle aged man goes back to his hometown to attend a funeral and he revisits his childhood memories of the time he was friends with a girl named, Lettie Hempstock. She was his only friend. The boy is age 7 and we are never given his name. We are n
Archit Ojha
Mar 23, 2016 Archit Ojha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-we-own

Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul.

Very truly so.

Penning a review for this book is hard, so is the book itself. Complex and intricately sewn together.
No, I am not revealing the plot to you, dear wife. All I am saying is that this is a different work altogether. And a very, very fine one indeed.

The story weaves childhood memories and nightmares, beliefs and myths into one fragment after another, until the fabric is tight enough to hold th
Feb 04, 2017 Matthias rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matthias by: Scarlet
Shelves: my-reviews
Nostalgia is widely frowned upon. In these hectic times of living fast and forward, those who look back, fall back. Those who contemplate their past and do so with a smile and a tear are said to live in museums of memories, stagnant, each teardrop further calcifying their energy into immovable stalactites. What good is there in replaying old movies? Why settle for a small library of old childhood adventures when each day offers a new one? Why cling to a past and forsake a future?

As an incorrigib
Jan 30, 2014 Lyn rated it really liked it
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is a fantasy in the The Graveyard Book section of his cannon, with Young Adult elements but written for adults.

Like American Gods, the book explores mythos and ancient mysteries and Gaiman is in rare form with a subject matter that resounds with disconnects between our mature selves and our inner child. Gaiman approaches the supernatural in his story in much the same way as Jo Walton did in Among Others, using minimalism and a subtle shift in pers
Valya Lupescu
Feb 18, 2013 Valya Lupescu rated it it was amazing
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
Richard Derus
Aug 03, 2013 Richard Derus rated it really liked it
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
Sanjay Gautam
Feb 26, 2015 Sanjay Gautam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sanjay by: Alejandro
I picked up this book with high expectations but in the end I felt that Gaiman has stretched the story unnecessarily - it could've been a really nice, but not great, short story, had he not extended it. Weird - was the first word that popped up in my mind, as soon as I started reading. The second word that popped up was Holden Caulfield (from The Catcher in the Rye), because the boy reminded me of him. I remember enjoying reading The Catcher in the Rye, but this one was not that great and I've m ...more
Helen Stavraki
Jul 18, 2016 Helen Stavraki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Φτιάχνω απόψε με κουρέλια και σανίδια
έναν συνοικισμό αυτόνομο
Μ’ αυτούς που ψάχνουν για διαμάντια στα σκουπίδια
και στον υπόνομο

Κι αντί να ψάχνω το κουκί και το ρεβύθι
στο τέλμα αυτό που βυθιζόμαστε
Φτιάχνω μαζί σας το δικό μας παραμύθι
γιατί χανόμαστε

Μες το δικό μας παραμύθι ξαναβρές το
το ξεχασμένο μονοπάτι σου
Και ξαναχάσ’ το, ξαναβρές το, ξαναπές το
το τραγουδάκι σου....

Ένα πολύ τρυφερό παραμύθι για την παιδική ψυχή που μπορεί να γίνει ιστορία τρόμου αν προσπαθήσεις να το κατανοήσεις με τη λογική κα
Jun 20, 2013 RandomAnthony rated it really liked it
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
Nov 23, 2013 Jaidee rated it liked it

3 "think I get it...but needed more" stars.

I very much liked this adult fable but not to the extent that many of my real life and Goodreads friends did.

At times I was completely absorbed and mesmerized by the narrative and other times I felt that the cosmology was inconsistent, random and a tad repetitive. I intuit that I understood the esthetic that Gaiman was attempting but often to me it was a miss rather than a hit. The writing was beautiful, rich and full of complex emotion but it often fel
Dannii Elle
I had little idea of what this story contained before reading this book and I believe that this really enhanced my reading experience so I shall keep this synopsis and description vague. This book is mythical, mystical, magical and mysterious. It is enchanting, extraordinary, exciting and ensorcelling. It is fantastical, fiendish, fascinating and fearsome. It is bizarre, bewitching, beguiling and beautiful. It is outlandish, otherworldly, obscure and oracular. It is uncanny, unusual, unearthly a ...more
Reading Corner
To be honest,I was fairly disappointed after reading this because you so rarely hear a bad word spoken about it and it has such good reviews.This was my first time reading Neil Gaiman and it was nothing spectacular for me.

The story was weird and didn't feel properly rounded off at all,I felt like there was too many blanks.Also,I thought it'd link up better with the present but it didn't,the main character was just recalling his childhood.I expected so much from the story but it didn't amaze me,I
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
Jun 21, 2013 JM rated it liked it
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
Oct 30, 2014 Maureen rated it really liked it
A really truly beautiful book.
Kevin Ansbro
This book is ALIVE

Neil Gaiman's axiom-twisting novel reads like a modern-day fairytale.
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane was recommended to me by so many Goodreaders that it became impossible to ignore.

New to Gaiman, I was quickly surprised at how easily he retains childhood memories and then scatters them into the furrows of his work.
The narrative flows smoothly and reading becomes effortless, which is always a good sign: the author has a lean writing style and hyperbole is kept to a minimum. Th
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“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.” 3029 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.” 2182 likes
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