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Where does The Ocean at the End of the Lane rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I do love a competent author who is also a competent narrator! Neil Gaimans books are great fun, if slightly warped at times. By reading it himself you can be sure to get the story as he intended. This is one of his books that is suitable for a wide range of audiences, so highly recommended for any long family road trips this summer.
The story takes us back in time to when the protagonist was a boy. A trip back home has reminded his adult self of some very odd happenings in his youth. What follows is a good mystery with some strange and/or supernatural characters vividly imagined to keep you guessing at every step of the way. The places and people are beautifully described so that you can close your eyes and almost see what happens. A great read, and probably one of the few I shall listen to over again.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Lette Hempstock - the sheer mystery of who she and her family are...
Which character – as performed by Neil Gaiman – was your favourite?
His speaks so beautifully, it's hard to choose a best character, so I shall plump for the main character for wordage alone
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Things are not what they seem, even if you can see more than others
Any additional comments?
I wish it didn't have to end, but also need to know what has happened and how, even if not why!
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about The Ocean at the End of the Lane? What did you like least?
The book starts wonderfully with its wistful portayal of childhood, conveying nostalgia without getting overly sentimental, and the story is very vividly and exuberantly told with moments of great inventiveness, particularly in the first half.
But I was considerably less keen on the second half of the story, which degenerates into a maelstrom of magical mumbo-jumbo. There was no logical thread of cause-and-effect, which kills any suspense and leaves the story feeling ultimately unsatisfying.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
Unfortunately from a certain point about 3/4 of the way through the story, I began to lose interest in where it was heading - a case of "too much magic" perhaps. So although the ending should have been poignant, I found myself feeling slightly nonplussed by the finale, and indifferent about the fates of the characters.
Would you listen to another book narrated by Neil Gaiman?
Yes - I do enjoy Neil Gaiman's narration. He's very engaging, although his warm and upbeat tone of voice does mean that sometimes he doesn't convey pathos very well.
If this book were a film would you go see it?
Yes, although it would be more for the spectacle than for the story.
Any additional comments?
I enjoy a good fantasy tale, and particularly like those where our world and other worlds collide, but these seem to work better as longer stories which introduce the magical/fantastical elements more gradually and allow more time to establish at least some rudimentary "rules" by which they operate. Here it all seems too sudden and too over-the-top - the gentle magic of the childhood imagination and the subtle otherworldliness of the English countryside are completely overpowered by the sensational (and pretty much incomprehensible) magical story elements.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
This is the first Neil Gaiman book I've listened to. In his words, though this story is short, it is very "dark". Whilst I agree it is dark-ish, it isn't what I was expecting. The seamless transition from our world to the "other world" is done very well. The Ursela character in her true form is also quite menacing. It reminds me of the abstract nature of some of Stephen King's good work.
The story is interesting enough, but the thing that really got on my nerves was Gaiman's narration. In every scene of the book, he speaks with an upward positive-sounding naive inflection. While this fits with the personality of the protagonist (an innocent 7-year-old boy), the dark tone of the story makes it completely out of place. Even in scenes that are supposed to be terrifying, the same tone of voice is there. It doesn't fit and it takes away from the story.
The other thing that I couldn't get over was that for a 7-year-old boy, the protagonist seems to be one of the world's great philosophers. He says and thinks things that no 7-year-old I've ever met has any understanding of. You can't even explain this by the character being an avid reader of books. The things he makes comments on would escape the understanding of someone that young. On top of this, there are times when Gaiman seems to remember that this is a young child and the character has a complete lack of understanding of a situation. Consistency is key, Neil. He's either a very smart worldly young boy, or a clueless child. You can't have it both ways.
A bit of a letdown, considering everyone praises this author.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Within only a couple of minutes of listening to this book I felt like I had struck gold! There are writers and there are Writters. True storytellers who make it into an art form. Neil Gaiman has weaved a truly beautiful story and is the perfect narrator.
There are some Authors like George R. R. Martin and Robin Hobb for whom 5 stars just does not seem enough. Neil Gaiman is one of those authors. I highly recommend this book. For those who let this book slip by, will have missed out on something truly magical.