Winner of the Specsavers National Book Award for The Audible Audiobook of the Year
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 - from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman.
It's about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. It began for our narrator 40 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 this world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and a menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.
Contains a special introduction from Neil Gaiman
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Can't beat a good Gaiman
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.
Lette Hempstock - the sheer mystery of who she and her family are...
His speaks so beautifully, it's hard to choose a best character, so I shall plump for the main character for wordage alone
Things are not what they seem, even if you can see more than others
I wish it didn't have to end, but also need to know what has happened and how, even if not why!
Wistful and charming but ultimately unsatisfying
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.
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.
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.
Yes, although it would be more for the spectacle than for the story.
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.