The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Genre: Coming of Age
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: June 28, 2016
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 where she once lived, 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.
A groundbreaking work as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark, 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.
“[Gaiman’s] mind is a dark fathomless ocean, and every time I sink into it, this world fades, replaced by one far more terrible and beautiful in which I will happily drown.” New York Times Book Review
UK National Book Awards 2013 “Book of the Year”
“Fantasy of the very best.” Wall Street Journal
My thoughts about The Ocean at the End of the Lane ~~
(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)
First line—'It was only a duck pond, out at the back of the farm. It wasn't very big. Lettie Hempstock said it was an ocean, but I knew that was silly. She said they'd come here across the ocean from the old country.'
This was my first Neil Gaiman novel and I really didn't know what to expect. That being said, I loved every minute of this unusual and magical story! I am so ready to read it again.
Sometimes I get in the mood to read a book or author who is somewhat a little bit off the wall and who can take me somewhere where I haven't been before. The Ocean at the End of the Lane did that for me. I have not read anything recently that has made me think about my childhood imagination and memories like this story did.
'Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.'
The man in the story comes back home for a funeral. He slips out of the house at one point and starts walking to his neighbor's house to see if he can reconnect with a childhood friend, Lettie Hempstock. The closer he gets to their property, the more the memories of what happened there when he was seven come flooding back to him. Was it real or was it his imagination? Or was it a nightmare?
This is a story that will stay with me for a long time and as I mentioned previously, I will definitely be taking this one off the shelf again and again so I can revisit this world.
About the Author
He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.
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