The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Streaming Audiobook - 2013
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Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. 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. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet sitting by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean), the unremembered past comes flooding back. 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. A stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.
Publisher: [United States] : Harper Collins Publishers : Made available through hoopla, 2013
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9780062255686
0062255681
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 audio file (5hr., 48 min.)) : digital
Additional Contributors: Gaiman, Neil
hoopla digital
Call Number: eAudio

Opinion

From Library Staff

List - Ghost Stories
DCLadults Oct 13, 2017

This book is a slight departure from Gaiman’s previous novels, with more subdued fantasy elements.

Childhood can be a scary experience, but for our unnamed narrator, it was so much more. With hints of Lovecraftian cosmic horror, this deceptive tale of a British boy and his farm-girl friend holds unexpectedly dark depths.


From the critics


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m
MissWrittenWord
Aug 12, 2018

Out of all the Neil Gaiman I have devoured this one still remains my absolute favourite. I love the way he weaves a story, making the characters jump from the pages and how the scenery sucks you into the book itself.

m
Mya614
Aug 05, 2018

This is an easy, dark fantasy book and I loved it. So much detail in such a short story but very well done.

s
smatte
Jul 17, 2018

Yet another nearly flawless novel from Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the genre-bender that readers have come to expect from this author. It is part folktale, part horror story, with elements of magical realism. The characters come to life on the pages, especially the narrator and the Hempstock ladies.
I was repeatedly impressed by how much detail Gaiman packs into such a short book. It rounds out at less than 200 pages and I kept thinking, "It would take Stephen King 600 pages to write this story." That's not a slight toward King, but a testament to what a powerhouse of storytelling Neil Gaiman is.

JCLIanH Jun 11, 2018

A truly beautiful and moving piece of writing. Gaiman's audiobook narration is a masterclass in storytelling, and really highlights the gorgeous prose that makes him one of the greats. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is full of so much wonder and weirdness and pure soul.

JCLAndrewE May 07, 2018

If you want a short introduction to Neil Gaiman's writing and whimsy, look no further. This is a fun and tight little novel about growing up, magic, good/evil, and how decisions follow us through our lives.

s
sfabregat
Apr 04, 2018

No better narrorator than the author himself. He takes you to another world that you won't want to leave!

c
Crodriguez02
Mar 19, 2018

So imaginative and creepy! I felt like a little kid again.

ArapahoeSiddra Feb 22, 2018

My first Neil Gaimen audiobook. Mentally frightening. It made me feel like a small child afraid of the dark and the shadows on the walls. I first took a listen to see if it would be good for my 10 year old (I don't think so...). There are some parts that really stick with you. Maybe you forget them during your day. Until you see them again in your nightmares.

a
asaga
Dec 25, 2017

A fantastic tale that weaves mysticism with a British rural setting.

j
johncruse
Sep 26, 2017

If a book has a weird title one can reasonably expect weird content. This book's content is so strange that I wonder about the sanity of the author.

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Quotes

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ArapahoeMaryA Jan 28, 2017

Nobody 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.

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 took joy in the things that made me happy.

d
DouglasLinn
Jun 13, 2015

"You don't pass or fail at being a person, dear." -- Ginnie Hempstock

roropan Jun 18, 2014

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.

JCLChrisK Sep 23, 2013

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

JCLChrisK Sep 21, 2013

I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.

JCLChrisK Sep 21, 2013

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.

JCLChrisK Sep 21, 2013

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.

JCLChrisK Sep 21, 2013

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

JCLChrisK Sep 21, 2013

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.

JCLChrisK Sep 21, 2013

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.

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Age

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m
Mya614
Aug 05, 2018

Mya614 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

b
bcornelius
Feb 01, 2017

bcornelius thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

ArapahoeRich Aug 04, 2016

ArapahoeRich thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

m
michelle_raddie
Jul 24, 2015

michelle_raddie thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

d
DouglasLinn
Jun 13, 2015

DouglasLinn thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

n
newanto
Jan 30, 2015

newanto thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

roropan Jun 18, 2014

roropan thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

carterasm1 Jan 08, 2014

carterasm1 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

p
pagetraveler
Jul 07, 2013

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

j
jkeeg
Jun 19, 2013

jkeeg thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Summary

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d
DouglasLinn
Jun 13, 2015

An unnamed protagonist returns to his childhood home upon his fathers funeral and recounts a fantastic tale of imagination and magic about the Hempstock's farm. The Hempstocks were his neighbors growing up and he befriended the 11 year old Lettie. It turns out the Hempstocks are much more than neighbors.

mvkramer Oct 21, 2013

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?

AnneDromeda Aug 02, 2013

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.

p
pagetraveler
Jul 07, 2013

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

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