The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

Hardcover, 192 pages

English language

Published June 18, 2013 by William Morrow.


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3 stars (4 reviews)

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 …

27 editions

Short and mostly sweet

4 stars

I guess it is long for a novella, but short for a novel. That means there is not a lot of room to build up characters. The protagonist is a bookish but uncomplicated boy but e.g. the parents are mostly ciphers.

It's an engaging story, I finished it in a few sessions, something I don't do very often these days. It feel very English, and very Rural, which isn't what I remember of Gaiman. It doesn't really break any new ground, but it well crafted, and the setting is more completely related than the characters.

It does have some scenes that would probably give sensitive souls (and children) nightmares.

Review of 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

This was like reading Neverwhere again. Except the main character is a child not 30ish. And I'm 30 odd, not a child.

It pretty much hits all the beats of Gaiman story, but here the structure creaks and groans. He mixes Coraline with Neverwhere, with American Gods, all the elements are there, and none of them feel original, or interesting. The quirky mystery of the Hempstocks was just annoying rather than alluring.

The main character has no agency, he just gets thrown from event to event, and his big heroic moment has him literally sitting still for hours.

No, I didn't like this at all. It's so bad that it may have tainted the earlier, better Gaiman stories, and that makes me kinda sad...

avatar for mageofmip

rated it

3 stars
avatar for myrmidex

rated it

4 stars