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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Cover of The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
A Novel
Borrow Borrow

A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman's first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.

This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real...

A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman's first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.

This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real...

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Listen
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.3
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
About the Author-
  • Neil Gaiman is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of books for children and adults whose award-winning titles include Norse Mythology, American Gods, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), Coraline, and The Sandman graphic novels. Neil Gaiman is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR and Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine How long have you been 11 for? That's just one of the mysteries in THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, where otherworldly things might be strange but aren't in the least impossible. As the 7-year-old protagonist, Neil Gaiman projects all the wonders and terrors of childhood, both ordinary and extraordinary. His neighbors, 11-year-old Lettie, Mrs. Hempstock, and Old Mrs. Hempstock, have rural Sussex accents that get stronger when the things that they love and protect are threatened. Gaiman evokes the comforts of their farm lovingly--good food, a full moon that always shines on the back of the house just so--and they contrast with the coldly emotionless voice of the story's villain. Spooky, beautiful, and magical, OCEAN will stay with listeners for a long time. J.M.D. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 1, 2013
    “Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later... but they are never lost for good”—and the most grim of those memories, no matter how faint, can haunt one forever, as they do the anonymous narrator of Gaiman’s subtle and splendid modern myth. The protagonist, an artist, returns to his childhood home in the English countryside to recover his memory of events that nearly destroyed him and his family when he was seven. The suicide of a stranger opened the way for a deadly spirit who disguised herself as a housekeeper, won over the boy’s sister and mother, seduced his father, and threatened the boy if he told anyone the truth. He had allies—a warm and welcoming family of witches at the old farm up the road—but defeating this evil demanded a sacrifice he was not prepared for. Gaiman (Anansi Boys) has crafted a fresh story of magic, humanity, loyalty, and memories “waiting at the edges of things,” where lost innocence can still be restored as long as someone is willing to bear the cost. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from June 1, 2013

    Gaiman here departs somewhat from his previous books, instead featuring greater emphasis on investigation of the human condition and a more subdued fantasy element. The main character revisits his boyhood, particularly a series of formative events surrounding his friendship with a girl named Lettie Hempstock. The plot rapidly evolves from reminiscent to scary to downright life-threatening, with profound reflections on mortality inherent in the drama. In this ominous environment, seeming evil is explained as a misplaced desire to please, and the ocean at the end of the lane is a liquid knowledge bath transcending space and time that helps rescue the boy. In fact, Lettie is one of the keepers of the ocean, and she and her family represent caretakers who manage the equilibrium of our world and protect the hapless. As we learn the full extent of our narrator's relationship with the Hempstocks, the absolute necessity of the act of forgetting becomes clear. VERDICT Scott Smith's The Ruins meets Astrid Lingren's Pippi Longstocking. A slim and magical feat of meaningful storytelling genius. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/12.]--Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    January 1, 2013

    The great Gaiman presents a roused-evil tale starring two children. With a one-day laydown on June 18, a 250,000-copy first printing, and an 11-city tour.

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from April 1, 2013
    From one of the great masters of modern speculative fiction: Gaiman's first novel for adults since Anansi Boys (2005). An unnamed protagonist and narrator returns to his Sussex roots to attend a funeral. Although his boyhood dwelling no longer stands, at the end of the road lies the Hempstock farm, to which he's drawn without knowing why. Memories begin to flow. The Hempstocks were an odd family, with 11-year-old Lettie's claim that their duck pond was an ocean, her mother's miraculous cooking and her grandmother's reminiscences of the Big Bang; all three seemed much older than their apparent ages. Forty years ago, the family lodger, a South African opal miner, gambled his fortune away, then committed suicide in the Hempstock farmyard. Something dark, deadly and far distant heard his dying lament and swooped closer. As the past becomes the present, Lettie takes the boy's hand and confidently sets off through unearthly landscapes to deal with the menace; but he's only 7 years old, and he makes a mistake. Instead of banishing the predator, he brings it back into the familiar world, where it reappears as his family's new housekeeper, the demonic Ursula Monkton. Terrified, he tries to flee back to the Hempstocks, but Ursula easily keeps him confined as she cruelly manipulates and torments his parents and sister. Despite his determination and well-developed sense of right and wrong, he's also a scared little boy drawn into adventures beyond his understanding, forced into terrible mistakes through innocence. Yet, guided by a female wisdom beyond his ability to comprehend, he may one day find redemption. Poignant and heartbreaking, eloquent and frightening, impeccably rendered, it's a fable that reminds us how our lives are shaped by childhood experiences, what we gain from them and the price we pay.

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from April 1, 2013
    In Gaiman's first novel for adults since Anansi Boys (2005), the never-named fiftyish narrator is back in his childhood homeland, rural Sussex, England, where he's just delivered the eulogy at a funeral. With an hour or so to kill afterward, he drives aboutaimlessly, he thinksuntil he's at the crucible of his consciousness: a farmhouse with a duck pond. There, when he was seven, lived the Hempstocks, a crone, a housewife, and an 11-year-old girl, who said they were grandmother, mother, and daughter. Now, he finds the crone and, eventually, the housewifethe same ones, unchangedwhile the girl is still gone, just as she was at the end of the childhood adventure he recalls in a reverie that lasts all afternoon. He remembers how he became the vector for a malign force attempting to invade and waste our world. The three Hempstocks are guardians, from time almost immemorial, situated to block such forces and, should that fail, fight them. Gaiman mines mythological typologythe three-fold goddess, the water of life (the pond, actually an ocean)and his own childhood milieu to build the cosmology and the theater of a story he tells more gracefully than any he's told since Stardust (1999). And don't worry about that for adults designation: it's a matter of tone. This lovely yarn is good for anyone who can read it. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: That this is the popular author's first book for adults in eight years pretty much sums up why this will be in demand.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
A Novel
Neil Gaiman
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