The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Gaiman, Neil

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

Publisher: New York, NY :, William Morrow,, [2013]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ♭2013
ISBN: 9780062255655
Characteristics: 181 pages ;,22 cm


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Mar 27, 2015
  • Boscorelli rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Highly recommended quick read. I read this for our book club and I was pleasantly surprised with the story. I really liked the "weird" twist to this book.

Feb 11, 2015
  • dairyqueen rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Adult fairy tale. Fun read. Different.

Feb 03, 2015

Comforting magic, some very fiercely frightening parts, and much like a very enlightening dream that fades upon wakening. Still, you know you'll be immersed in that pond/ocean of memory again.

Jan 30, 2015
  • Palomino rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Beware, I had to read it in one sitting. For some reason, I guess because the boy is 7 years old, I thought this was a kiddy book, but it starts with a dead kitten and goes downhill from there, mixing up imagination, mythology, horror, poetry, and so much painful truth... as authors and artists go, Neil Gaiman is a living god, and I don't know yet if this book is going to give me nightmares or give me strength.

Dec 19, 2014
  • NKBrown60 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Enjoyed this! This is the 3rd book by Gaiman I have read in the last 6 months. While I liked the others, this was the best for my taste. The Magic seemed more interwoven with the Realism. The experience from the perspective of a child lent an additional edge of terror and awe.

Nov 20, 2014
  • shanejeff rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a very interesting, dark, weird, book! I loved it. It has a brooding tone, fantasy elements, like a modern fable. It's a short novel, less than 200 pages, but a very rich, full story. Check it out!

Nov 11, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_KenMc rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A profound and deeply philosophical meditation in the form of a simple narrative that could almost be a children's book, if it weren't for the adult themes and events. If you want to sample Gaiman at his best without wading through the hundreds of pages of "American Gods," try this one.

Sep 12, 2014
  • odettewright rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I borrowed this book because I vaguely remembered having read a positive review of it. When I started reading it and found it was a fantasy I was a bit dismayed, since I don't usually like fantasies. But it was intriguing, and I continued reading it. In no time at all, I was hooked and read it through very quickly, enjoying every moment of it. I was sincerely sorry that it ended so soon. I will definitely read more of Neil Gaiman, hoping his other books are as good as this one.

Sep 06, 2014
  • monicarp rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This was my first ever Neil Gaiman novel, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. While it was not what I expected at all, the story was so different that it kept me interested from the moment I started reading. A short read, but definitely a worthwhile one!

Sep 05, 2014
  • HujeBohoc rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A quick read. Neil Gaiman is an intelligent writer: rather than base his novel on a shocking finale where everything is suddenly revealed, he gives it a treatment that is more poetic. The trip is more interesting than the destination.

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Sep 23, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I liked myths. They weren't adult stories and they weren't children's stories. They were better than that. They just were.

Sep 21, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.

Sep 21, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Adults follow paths. Children explore. 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.

Sep 21, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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.

Sep 21, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Oh, monsters are scared. That's why they're monsters.

Sep 21, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I'm going to tell you something important. 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. The truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.

Sep 21, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I found joy in the things that made me happy.

Sep 21, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I was a normal child. Which is to say, I was selfish and I was not entirely convinced of the existence of things that were not me, and I was certain, rock-solid unshakably certain, that I was the most important thing in creation. There was nothing that was more important to me than I was.

Sep 21, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A story only matters, I suspect, to the extent that the people in the story change.


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Jan 30, 2015

newanto thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jan 08, 2014
  • carterasm1 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

carterasm1 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jul 07, 2013
  • pagetraveler rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

pagetraveler thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 12 and 99

Jun 19, 2013
  • JOE KEEGAN rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

JOE KEEGAN thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Oct 21, 2013
  • mvkramer rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A man returns to his childhood home for a funeral, and suddenly finds himself remembering the strange events of his childhood -- when he was seven, and met Lettie Hempstock. That year, an unfortunate man killed himself on Lettie's property, and unwittingly released something ancient and malevolent upon the village. When the eldritch entity threatens our narrator's family, Lettie promises to keep him safe. But at what cost?

Aug 02, 2013
  • AnneDromeda rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Neil Gaiman’s *The Ocean at the End of the Lane* is a fairy tale for adults in the best possible sense. It’s incredibly lightweight – at only 178 pages, Gaiman has stripped down his prose and left a spare, stunning myth that can be read in one stop on the beach blanket. Indeed, you may find you need the sunbeams – if this dark, bewitching tale doesn’t send a shiver down your spine, you likely have no pulse.

The book opens with an unnamed man returning to his childhood home after the death of a family member. In his grief, he’s drawn to the farm of a childhood friend named Lettie Hempstock. He winds up seated next to a pond they called the ocean, lost in childhood memories.

He had been a shy, quiet child who loved to read and had few friends. Soon after he turned seven, a boarder living in the narrator’s home took his own life. After discovering the body, the narrator is comforted by the Hempstocks, a family of remarkable women who live at the end of his lane.

Gaiman has created something special with the Hempstocks. Though they’re plainly supernatural, Gaiman makes no effort to explain what they are beyond imbuing them with spiritual elements from the Maiden/Mother/Crone trinity found in neopagan mythology. This lack of explanation makes them all the more powerful – as Gaiman well knows, a story’s real power lies in the unknown.

The narrator begins to bond with 11-year-old Lettie Hempstock. She keeps his company as a series of strange events unfold, all seemingly related to the suicide of the opal miner who boarded with the narrator’s family. Lettie takes the narrator on an errand to banish the being causing the trouble. This errand alone contains all the creepy beauty and wild atmosphere Gaiman’s known for, but it’s just the beginning. The being follows the unnamed young protagonist back home and manifests itself as an evil nanny named Ursula Monkton. She dedicates herself to trapping and enslaving the young boy.

Gaiman lets the story of an evil nanny tormenting the painfully young abandoned narrator unfold as simply as any children’s tale. This makes the powerful, luminous spirituality of the tale’s final showdown all the more profound. The only words to capture the dark beauty and wonder of the final pages of *The Ocean at the End of the Lane* are the ones Gaiman has already used, so you’ll just have to read it yourself. You won’t regret it – this is hands-down the most moving book I’ve read this year. Like any fairy tale, it’s a fiction for the ages, meant for telling the truth.

Jul 07, 2013
  • pagetraveler rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A man returns to his boyhood home and remembers events of the past that have been lost to him.


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