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The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Neil Gaiman

Average Review Rating Average Rating 7/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Headline

Published : 2015

Copyright : Neil Gaiman 2013

ISBN-10 : PB 1-4722-2842-1
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-4722-2842-0

Publisher's Write-Up

Dive into a magical novel of memory and the adventure of childhood, from one of the brightest, most brilliant writers of our generation.

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 defence is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duck pond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark.

'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.'

Mid-West Times

'There's no one quite like Neil Gaiman.'

George R. R. Martin

'Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul.'

Joanne Harris
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Ben Macnair (301115) Rating (7/10)

Review by Ben Macnair
Rating 7/10
There are books that fit into many categories, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one of them. It is an adult book, with many of the attributes of a children’s book. It is magic realism, but is based in real life. There is escapism, good and evil, families of all types, allusions to worlds and science and knowledge outside of our own.

It concerns a loner, going home after forty years for his Father’s funeral, and it is here that he remembers the events that happened when he was seven. Starting with a birthday party which no-one goes to, it soon gets worse. A lodger commits suicide in his father’s car, and from this event, monsters are invited into his life, taking on the forms of a new, alluring housekeeper, who seduces his father, and changes his father’s behaviour towards his children, and sets in motion a series of event that would destroy him, if it wasn’t for the women at Hemstock Farm.

Lettie is 11 when she helps the boy, taking him along to find monsters, but when he accidently lets go of her hand, a monster is allowed to escape through him, taking up a place in his heart, a heart which will remain altered for years.

Lettie, her Mother and her Grandmother remember the earth before the moon, and have dominion in this world, and many others, power and control over time, but there are monsters that even their powers cannot stop.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is at once both elegiac for times during the 1970’s of the boy’s childhood, and the effect that it has on his life as an adult. The Hemstock’s may have power over time, and can change and alter it at will, but the results are inevitably the same, and there will always be a monster in the heart. In this case, it is real, but it is also metaphorical for all of us, for the world and our childhoods always shapes us into the adults we become.

Neil Gaiman’s writing ratchets up the tension, using narrative structure and characterisation to cast a spell, and keep the reader hooked. If you are unfamiliar with his writing, this book is as good as any to make a start.
Ben Macnair ( 2015)

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