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To the Best of Our Knowledge June 15, 2014
   
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman

Overview -

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.  Read more...


 
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More About The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
 
 
 
Overview

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.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062255655
  • ISBN-10: 0062255657
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company
  • Publish Date: June 2013
  • Page Count: 192


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Fantasy - General
Books > Fiction > Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
Books > Fiction > Literary

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-04-01
  • Reviewer: Staff

“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. (June)

 
BookPage Reviews

Again the magic

We readers expect magic when we pick up a Neil Gaiman novel. By now he’s built a reputation for his own unique brand of spellbinding fiction, but even among works like American Gods, Stardust and Coraline, The Ocean at the End of the Lane stands as a landmark. Never before has Gaiman’s fiction felt this personal, this vibrant or this deeply intimate.

Gaiman’s hero is an unnamed narrator who returns to his childhood home as an adult and is flooded with memories of a farm at the end of the English country lane where he grew up. We relive those boyhood memories as he does, beginning with an odd tragedy that brought him to the doorstep of the Hempstock family. There he met 11-year-old Lettie, her mother and her ancient grandmother, who claims she was around when the moon was first made. There he finds a pond that Lettie insists is an ocean. And there he embarked on a strange, mesmerizing and often terrifying adventure that probes the often unreachable corners of human memory, nostalgia and wonder.

Never before has Gaiman’s fiction felt this personal.

At fewer than 200 pages, this is one of Gaiman’s shortest books, and yet The Ocean at the End of the Lane is overflowing with ambition. As it meanders through ever-thickening layers of magical intrigue—which wrap this book like bright green English moss—the novel becomes something more than a boyhood adventure story. It is a fable about the practicalities and inconsistencies of magic, about the often unreliable powers of memory and about how fear can often make us stronger. All this is imparted through a lightning-quick narrative filled with typically spellbinding Gaiman imagery, and told in unpretentious but endlessly evocative prose. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a character study trapped in a fairy tale, a coming-of-age story wrapped in the trappings of myth. It’s Gaiman at his bittersweet, hypnotic best, and it’s a can’t-miss book for this summer. 

Matthew Jackson reviews from Texas.

 
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