Synopses & Reviews
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...
“Poignant and heartbreaking, eloquent and frightening, impeccably rendered, its a fable that reminds us how our lives are shaped by childhood experiences, what we gain from them and the price we pay.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Gaiman mines mythological typology — the three-fold goddess, the water of life (the pond, actually an ocean) — and his own childhood milieu to build the cosmology and theater of a story he tells more gracefully than any he's told since Stardust...[a] lovely yarn.” Booklist (starred review)
"His prose is simple but poetic, his world strange but utterly believable — if he was South American we would call this magic realism rather than fantasy." The Times (London)
"[W]orthy of a sleepless night...a fairy tale for adults that explores both innocence lost and the enthusiasm for seeing what's past one's proverbial fence....Gaiman is a master of creating worlds just a step to the left of our own."
"Remarkable...wrenchingly, gorgeously elegiac....[I]n The Ocean at the End of the Lane, [Gaiman] summons up childhood magic and adventure while acknowledging their irrevocable loss, and he stitches the elegiac contradictions together so tightly that you won't see the seams." Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
"[A] compelling tale for all ages...entirely absorbing and wholly moving." New York Daily News
"[A] story concerning the bewildering gulf between the innocent and the authoritative, the powerless and the powerful, the child and the adult....Ocean is a novel to approach without caution; the author is clearly operating at the height of his career."
The Atlantic Wire
"Ocean has that nearly invisible prose that keeps the focus firmly on the storytelling, and not on the writing....[T]his simple exterior hides something much more interesting; in the same way that what looks like a pond can really be an ocean." io9
"This slim novel, gorgeously written, keeps its talons in you long after you've finished." New York Post
"The Ocean at the End of the Lane is fun to read, filled with his trademarked blend of sinister whimsy. Gaiman's writing is like dangerous candy — you're certain there's ground glass somewhere, but it just tastes so good!"
Bookish (Houston Chronicle book blog)
"The impotence of childhood is often the first thing sentimental adults forget about it; Gaiman is able to resurrect, with brutal immediacy, the abject misery of being unable to control one's own life." Laura Miller, Salon
"[W]ry and freaky and finally sad....This is how Gaiman works his charms....He crafts his stories with one eye on the old world, on Irish folktales and Robin Hood and Camelot, and the other on particle physics and dark matter."
"Gaiman has crafted an achingly beautiful memoir of an imagination and a spellbinding story that sets three women at the center of everything....[I]t's a meditation on memory and mortality, a creative reflection on how the defining moments of childhood can inhabit the worlds we imagine." Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI)
A major new work from "a writer to make readers rejoice" (Minneapolis Star Tribune
) — a moving story of memory, magic, and survival.
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 past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie — magical, comforting, wise beyond her years — promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.
About the Author
Neil Gaiman has written award-winning books for children and adults, including the Newbery Medal-winning novel The Graveyard Book and Coraline, Stardust, and Odd and the Frost Giants. His picture books include Instructions and Blueberry Girl, illustrated by Charles Vess; The Wolves in the Walls, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, and Crazy Hair, illustrated by Dave McKean; and The Dangerous Alphabet, illustrated by Gris Grimly. A baby giant panda once sat on his lap and ate bamboo in Chengdu, China.