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The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  470,129 ratings  ·  47,268 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, First Edition, 181 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.

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Nataliya
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 m
...more
Emily May
Jun 24, 2013 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 ad
...more
Patrick
May 31, 2013 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
...more
Jayson
(A-) 84% | Very Good
Notes: We make pilgrimage to the landmarks of our childhood, in vain, to revive somehow the magic and wonder of youth.
Miranda Reads
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
I really, really wanted to like this book...but like so many Gaiman novels, it fell flat. Like pancake-flat.

Maybe this one is a dud because we follow the least-interesting character in the entire book.

Honestly, I couldn't be the only one who would've preferred to get the perspectives of the witches. Or the worm-creature? Or even the spiteful cat.

Why Gaiman chose such a young, bland character to be his main, I will never know.
I was a normal child. Which is to say, I was selfish and I w
...more
Scarlet
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
"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 no
...more
Sean Barrs
“I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.”

This is a book that teaches us that we should never stop dreaming, that we should never stop seeing oceans in ponds and that we should never, ever, stop seeing better worlds in the things we read.

The pond that was an ocean bespeaks the level of optimism that is inherent with childhood dreams. Everything seems better. Everything seems bigger and grander. Imagination makes the ordin
...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
...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
$3.99 on kindle US. Today only! 2-4-18

This was a magical story both happy and dark. I loved it so much! And Neil Gaiman did a wonderful job of reading his own book ❤️



Once a boy befriended a girl named Lettie Hempstock, her mother and grandmother and nothing was ever the same again.....



There are beautiful and horrible things in this world and we find these things inside this book

A boy that is coming of age in a world we know nothing about and everything about....



It did make me sad but you have
...more
Maciek
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
Patrick
Oct 26, 2012 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....
emma
"I remember my own childhood vividly...I knew terrible things. But I knew I mustn’t let adults know I knew. It would scare them." -Maurice Sendak

Considering how obsessed we are with the idea of childhood as a culture, it’s pretty wild that no one can capture it quite like Neil Gaiman.

https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co...

There are a lot of movies about boring white-straight-male aspiring writers in their 30s being taught how to LIVE WHIMSICALLY by a manic pixie dream girl. There are books abou
...more
Lyn
Jan 30, 2014 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
...more
David Monroe
Feb 07, 2013 marked it as to-read
I want to read this book so much.

description
...more
Alejandro
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Can a pond being an ocean? Sure! Why not?


DON'T THINK IN LIMITATIONS BUT POSIBILITIES

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.

Howev
...more
Dan Schwent
Nov 08, 2012 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
...more
Adina
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sf
It is the first book I read by Neil Gaiman but I am sure it will not be the last. It is creepy and beautiful and hopeful and melancholic.

It is a book about the innocence and helplessness of childhood, about memories and also about so much more as it contains a lot of universal truths so beautifully written.

It is an adult story even if most of it is narrated through the eyes of a seven years old boy. I loved the definition of adults from the book:

Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside
...more
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 flowed smoothly and reading became effortless, which is always a good sign: the author has a lean writing style and hyperbole was kept to a minimum. T
...more
Fabian
Aug 12, 2014 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 & grand ...more
Mitch
Jun 19, 2013 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)
...more
Archit Ojha
Mar 23, 2016 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
...more
Kenny
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“I was not scared of anything, when I read my book...”
The Ocean at the End of the Lane ~~ Neil Gaiman


1

I loved retreating into the comfort of this book, like our young, unnamed hero in “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” often does. Gaiman sweeps through this book’s action breathlessly, without pause for long explanations or justifications. The boy’s point of view is a distinctive Gaiman touch; it is familiar from the way he handled people caught within dreams within The Sandman, but also haunting
...more
Sid
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
An abso-fucking-lutely amazing book!
It fed my imagination to its fullest!

‘You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.’

Cannot describe this story enough for it is supposed to have no boundaries.

It tells of an independent fantasy with indescribable characters that have nothing and everything to do with anything or whatsoever!

Brilliantly written!
5 stars, without any doubt!
Jennifer Masterson
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audio
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
...more
Jaidee
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 fe
...more
Matthew
It was a bunch of made up stuff that was not combined in a believable fashion. Normally when reading a fantasy novel, no matter how outlandish it gets, you believe in the world created by the author. I didn't believe in this world or any of the bizarre, disconnected things he was coming up with. The fact that it is basically unresolved at the end did not help much either.
Richard Derus
Aug 03, 2013 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
...more
Matthias
Feb 04, 2017 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
...more
Valya Lupescu
Feb 18, 2013 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
...more
David Schaafsma
4/24/20: I for the first time heard Neil Gaiman Himself read this to me via audiobook, his wonderfully mellifluous, seductive voice carrying me along. I once heard him read an excerpt from it when he was on his book tour. A former student had bought me a ticket to come and get a signed copy and hear him read and talk, and that is a wonderful memory, but this was also a fine experience. Of course I can't help but think of certain books as pertinent to the things I (and the world) are going throug ...more
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Play Book Tag: [Poll Ballot] The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - 2 stars 3 11 Aug 06, 2020 01:07PM  
Tome Time: Read: Epilogue 3 6 Jun 03, 2020 02:19PM  
Tome Time: Read: Chapter 14 3 3 Jun 02, 2020 02:55PM  
Tome Time: Read: Chapter 12 5 3 Jun 01, 2020 02:40PM  
Tome Time: Read: Chapter 10 3 3 May 31, 2020 11:35AM  

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