{PDF / Epub} The Ocean at the End of the LaneAuthor Neil Gaiman – Gsagency.co

Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences. This book is childhood.Are all Neil Gaiman books like this So beautifully, hauntingly nostalgic I confess, this is my first but right now I am logging into to make sure it isn t my last I have one criticism, which is that this book isn t really an adult book The few adult scenes felt added as an afterthought to try and convince us little people that this is actually a very grown up kinda story But, take out that dodgy sex scene, and I would have been mesmerised and terrified by this book as a kid, perhaps even than I was reading it today It has everything that we could possibly ask for in childhood magic, adventure, overcoming fears, those things that children know and adults no longer understand or remember, and it s all wrapped up in a tidy 180 pages There s an almost dreamlike quality to the story and there are many reasons it s hard to know what s real and what is not The book opens with a middle aged man revisiting the place where he used to live with his parents and sister when he was a young boy of seven He visits his old house before wandering down to the farm at the end of the lane, a place that starts to bring back a strange sequence of memories as seen through the eyes of a young boy How real are the magic and monsters of our childhood When we look back and see ignorant youths believing in the impossible, are we enlightened adults Or are we the ignorant ones, blinded by years dedicated to being sensible and not believing Are the villains we remember monsters from another world Or is that just how children make sense of the people who brought upheaval into their lives I found it truly fascinating.The creepy yet beautiful setting in the English countryside was fantastic A little lonely, somewhat isolated like a world entirely of its own in which anything could be possible This book held all the charm and beauty of the world portrayed in Cider With Rosie, but was ten times compelling and addictive And there were the characters, of course Lettie Hempstock, an eleven year old who might just have been eleven for a very long time, and her quirky mother and grandmother Also, the narrator had my sympathy throughout his seven year old lack of understanding and fear of the adult world that he saw as separate from his own was easily believable, for me I think we do create a world of our own when we re kids, one that adults aren t a part of, that s how we re able to believe in things like magic and wizards and Santa To put it plainly, I really enjoyed my first trip into the world of Gaiman The ending is perfect A little sad But mostly perfect.Blog Leafmarks Facebook Twitter Instagram Tumblr All monsters are scared.That s why they re monsters48 hours ago, when I read the last page for the first time, I had this strange, sad feeling Like I had come to the end of something beautiful without really comprehending the beauty of it until the last minute.Which is why it took me a re read to realize how brilliant this book is The Ocean at the End of the Lane is childhood in 181 pages.Short Sweet Magical Scary Real.There is a reason this book is labelled as adult and it has nothing to do with sexual content or violence or gore To be an adult by age is meaningless because, to truly appreciate this book, you must be an adult by experience You must be adult enough to miss childhood.Me, I m not there yet I don t miss being a child because I remember being a child I can still see it when I turn back.So right now, no This is not my favorite Gaiman book.But in 20 odd years, it probably will be.Because The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one of those books.It can only grow in appeal the older you getAnd did I pass The face of the old woman on my right was unreadable in the gathering dusk.On my left the younger woman said, You don t pass or fail at being a person, dear Sitting down to write a review of this book, I don t quite know where to start I was going to quote a passage that I particularly loved But no good can come of that Once I opened that door, where would I stop quoting So let me say this I genuinely loved this book I look forward to reading it again I will buy copies for my family as gifts I will listen to the audio and lament my own lack of narrative skill I will gush about it to strangers In short, it is a Neil Gaiman novel There is truth here, and beauty, and joy, and a sad, sweet melancholy that moves through my chest like distant thunder I realize that what I am writing here is not really a review in any conventional sense It is a paen A panegyric It is the textual equivalent of a huge, happy, gormless grin And you know what I m fine with that Let the professionals write their reviews Let them get all jargony about it Let them try to pin this book to the page, not realizing that a pinned butterfly holds no delight A pinned butterfly is nothing like a butterfly at all I make no claims to impartiality in regard to Gaiman s work Sandman changed how I thought about stories Neverwhere was a talisman for me Stardust is a golden bell hung in my heart And American Gods taught me that there was a name for the sort of book I was struggling to write It was a picaresque So if you re looking for impartiality, this is not the review for you Look elsewhere Me I will enjoy The Ocean at the End of the Lane without dissection It made me happy It made me feel less alone It made me love Neil Gaiman a little than I already did, and that s something I didn t think was possible.Do I hope to someday write a book like this No I never could He s done something odd and strange and lovely here I couldn t hope to replicate it Instead, this is what I hope In the future, when Joss Whedon and I are best friends and hanging out together in my tree fort, I hope Neil Gaiman comes over too Because then the three of us will all play Settlers of Catan together And I will win, because I m really great at Settlers of Catan But I will also be very gracious about it, and apologize for putting the bandit on Gaiman s wheat twice in a row Then we will make ss, and I will toast a marshmallow with such deftness and perfection that they will be amazed and realize I am kinda cool Then we will talk about Battlestar Galactica, and which Doctor is our favorite, and we will tell ghost stories late into the night God I m tired I should really go to sleep I have no idea what I m saying any I hope I don t regret this in the morning. I really, really wanted to like this bookbut like so many Gaiman novels, it fell flat Like pancake flat Maybe this one is a dud because we follow the least interesting character in the entire book Honestly, I couldn t be the only one who would ve preferred to get the perspectives of the witches Or the worm creature Or even the spiteful cat Why Gaiman chose such a young, bland character to be his main, I will never know I was a normal child Which is to say, I was selfish and I was not entirely convinced of the existence of things that were not me, and I was certain, rock solid, unshakeably certain, that I was the most important thing in creation. Perhaps this one is a dud because while there were many parts that caught my attention, nothing was fleshed out enough to hold me to this book Surethere s a hint of this, a dash of that but nothing really comes to fruition, only frustration.This in part because our main character is so young and naive that he really can t do much Sure he can duck away for a minor adventure but never anything longer than an afternoonOh, monsters are scared, said Lettie That s why they re monstersPossibly this one was a dud because after nearly 200 pagesnothing is explained While there s many hints given about the mystical world and it s otherworldly characteristics yet nothing concrete is explained EVER Sometimes a little mystery is needed and sometimes, just explain it already.Neil Gaiman always has the craziest, wildest, awesomest ideasand 4 5 times they just absolutely fall flat to me It s likeI like the idea concept better than actually reading the book That being said, I do enjoy how much his main character loved to read Every time he talked about books, I was like preach I lived in books than I lived anywhere elseAudiobook CommentsDespite all my whining and complaining, the one thing I cannot fault is this audiobook Neil Gaiman read it himself and wow Stunning audio He could read a Walgreen receipt heck, even a CVS Pharmacy receipt and I d listen with rapt attention.Blog Instagram Twitter A 84% Very Good NotesWe make pilgrimage to the landmarks of our childhood, in vain, to revive somehow the magic and wonder of youth. Monsters come in all shapes and sizes Some of them are things people are scared of Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but aren t I turned 7 early in third grade It was a memorable school year because I had for a teacher a nun with a reputation Sister Evangelista was about 5 foot nuthin , and symmetrical If the what s black and white, black and white, black and white a nun rolling down a hill joke were applied to her you would have needed a lot black and whites, as her spherical shape would have kept her rolling a long time It earned her the nickname Cannonball She was notorious, not only for her distinctive dimensions, but for having a particularly foul temper Her starched garb also pinched her face into a state of permanent floridity and pursed her lips into a particularly fish like shape It was not a happy year for me at school There would be than one instance of raised voices, and than one rap across the hands with yardsticks I was even banned from the classroom for a spell, to wander the halls for hours, unaccompanied But I somehow knew that eventually I would be a third grader no longer and would escape the sharpened claws and flapping habit of this creature She was unpleasant, for sure, but she did not present an existential threat Neil on a drainpipe as a lad from his FB pageWhen the unnamed narrator of Neil Gaiman s book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, turns 7, he has troubles of his own It begins with zero attendance at his birthday party The family comes on some hard times and must take in boarders The boy is given a kitten, Fluffy, to ease the loss of his room, but the pet falls victim to a cab, arriving with a South African opal miner, the latest paying resident Not long after, the miner takes the family car It is found soon after, at the end of a nearby lane, with a body in the back seat, and a hose running from the tail pipe to the driver s window At the scene, the boy meets an eleven year old girl, Lettie Hempstock, who takes charge of him, and brings him to her family s farm, which borders the lane And so begins a beautiful friendship Members of the extended Hempstock family, btw, turn up in several other Gaiman books Lettie lives with her mother and grandmother When strange events begin to erupt in the area the boy s sister is assaulted by flung coins, the boy wakes up choking on a coin, and other strangeness afflicts neighbors Lettie seems to know what is causing them She is sent to take care of it and brings the boy, her little friend, along They travel across the Hempstock property and into what seems another world, mentions of Narnia and Alice in Wonderland, among others, let us know that lines will be crossed a place that has some threatening inhabitants Lettie confronts the troublemaker, but the boy reacts to an event instead of thinking and disobeys her lone order, to keep hold of her hand That is when the real trouble begins.Image taken from abc.net.auThe boy is far too young for this to be a coming of age tale, but a central element of horror, whether of the Freddie Krueger, Nurse Ratched or Sister Evangelista variety, or the flapping beast central to Gaiman s tale, is one s helplessness before a greater, and ill intentioned power Although he doesn t characterize his intentions as horror mongering, Gaiman has laid out what he was up to in writing the book.It was meant to be just about looking out at the world through the kind of eyes that I had when I was 7, from the kind of landscape that I lived in when I was 7 And then it just didn t quite stop I kept writing it, and it wasn t until I got to the end that I realized I d actually written a novel I thought it s really not a kids story and one of the biggest reasons it s not a kids story is, I feel that good kids stories are all about hope In the case of Ocean at the End of the Lane, it s a book about helplessness It s a book about family, it s a book about being 7 in a world of people who are bigger than you, and dangerous, and stepping into territory that you don t entirely understand Gaiman was aware that his work might appeal to young readers for whom is it not intended He said that he deliberately made the first few chapters of the book dull as a way to dissuade younger readers, who would be put off by that and disinclined to continue on to the juicy bits The world the young boy faces may not be understandable There is just too much to take in and Gaiman captures that element of childhood quite well.Changes for the boy at home include the antithesis of Mary Poppins, in the form of one Ursula Monkton, who seems to have arrived on an ill wind, with the added bonus of her having designs on the boy s father Adults overall seem pretty careless But there is some balance in this universe Lettie s family seems beyond time itself, a bright light in the darkness, welcoming, comforting, nurturing And then there s the ocean Looks like a pond to you or me, but it has qualities quite unlike other bodies of water As in his earlier American Gods, there are things that have been brought to this newer world from the place its residents once occupied You may not be able to go home again, but what if you could take it with you Also a theme in American Gods Gaiman says he usually writes for himself One thing that was different about this book was that he was writing for someone else His wife, musician Amanda Palmer, was off in Australia making an album Where you or I might send along daily, or weekly notes of what was going on, Gaiman sent something else I will tell my wife, by making stuff up, kind of what it was like to be me when I was seven, from the inside of my head, not in the real world, then put it in the actual landscape that I grew up in There really had been a boarder who killed himself in the family ride Like his young hero, Gaiman climbed drainpipes There really was a farm down the lane that had been recorded in the DomesDay Book.And as with such enterprises he did not have a large framework constructed It was like driving at night through the fog he knew three or five pages ahead what would happen , but no further.There is some material here that rankled a bit The substitute parent trope had been used to good effect in Coraline and manifests in many of the Disney animated classics, evil stepmothers in Cinderella, Snow White and the like Ditto here Maybe going to that well one time too many And is dad really that dim But there is also a nice diversity of conceptual toys at work The flapping baddie was fun The magical ocean and ageless Hemplocks are also very engaging The nothingness created by the creatures referred to, among other things, as hunger birds, reminded me of Stephen King s Langoliers, also the Nothing of the Never Ending Story and the Dark Thing of a Wrinkle in Time Might the three Hemplocks serve as a sort of feminine Holy Trinity There is a wormhole that involves an actual you know worm, which made me smile for a long time And any time there is a dip into water, one must ponder things baptismal, rebirth, either literal or spiritual Letting go is what so much of growing up is about It is the very thing that must be done in order to be able to grow, to live one s own life But sometimes letting go has the opposite effect, and can place you in peril, particularly when you are only 7 and not ready for the consequences There is a lot in this short book on holding on, and letting go, and the price of both There is a lot on doing what is right, on personal sacrifice, on permanence and the ephemeral, on remembering and forgetting The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a short novel But do not let go of the notion that this is a book for adults The ocean in question may look to be a pond, but do not be deceived Jump in The water s fine, and deep.Posted 8 19 13This review is cross posted at Coot s Reviews EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal, Twitter, FB and Tumblr pagesA wonderful article on Gaiman in the January 25, 2010 issue of The New Yorker An excellent audio interview by Jian Ghomeshi of Canadian BroadcastingI also reviewed Gaiman s Stardust, briefly, a few years back The Graveyard Book fully in October 2012 Trigger Warning in March 2015 The View from the Cheap Seats in June 201612 3 13 The results are in and The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted the Goodreads Choice Award winner for fantasy12 16 13 The Ocean was named one of the best fiction books of 2013 by Kirkus2 25 14 The Ocean at the End of the Lane is nominated for a Nebula Award 3.99 on kindle US Today only 2 4 18This was a magical story both happy and dark I loved it so much And Neil Gaiman did a wonderful job of reading his own book Once a boy befriended a girl named Lettie Hempstock, her mother and grandmother and nothing was ever the same again..There are beautiful and horrible things in this world and we find these things inside this book A boy that is coming of age in a world we know nothing about and everything about It did make me sad but you have to read the book to understand it I m going to be adding this to my collection as I got this audio from the library Overdrive I highly recommend it Adults follow paths Children explore Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, thousands perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, and find the spaces between fences I m glad I still haven t grown up Mel MY BLOG Melissa Martin s Reading List My favourite read of 2018I went away in my head, into a book That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexibleThis is a book that teaches us that we should never stop dreaming, that we should never stop seeing oceans in ponds and that we should never, ever, stop seeing better worlds in the things we read.The pond that was an ocean bespeaks the level of optimism that is inherent with childhood dreams Everything seems better Everything seems bigger and grander Imagination makes the ordinary seem extraordinary and fantastic I have no idea what elements were fantasy within the novel It could even be magical realism or a child s interpretation and exaggeration of real life events Part of me felt like it was based on real things but distorted and twisted to evoke the sense of unfamiliarity a child has in an adult world But to perpetually see the world through child eyes would be a boonI do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy It s a book for the lost, for the social pariahs who do not fit in with normal society It is a book for those who would rather spend their days reading than interacting with the human race Humans are always disappointing, books are not And our little hero knows this so he concocts his own friends and draws upon the lessons he learnt through reading In this regard it reminded me of Coraline. It s a book about an odd child who dreams of something a little bit better than the reality they experience.The friend he meets becomes his guardian against the forces that would destroy him and his family She becomes a doorway into understanding an entirely new world In this I saw a lonely child longing for something he didn t have, a connection with someone who would hold him up when the days become their darkest In The Ocean at the End of Lane anything is possible as a child s dreams and memories propel the narrative forward The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a truly fantastic book in every regard I absolutely loved it. 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 BoyForty 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 WhatA 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 In the acknowledgments section of his latest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman admits that the project was initially meant to be a short story, which grew to be a novel not a very long novel, but a novel nonetheless For fans it was big news, as it would be his first novel for adults since 2005 s Anansi Boys.I was never really into Gaiman s work I wasn t crazy about American Gods or Neverwhere and Coraline, all of which are routinely mentioned as fan favorites I loved Stardust, though his short fantasy which I thought was beautiful and had to read in one sitting The Ocean sounded like a a welcome return to the familiar field, and I was compelled to give it a try.Gaiman s narrator is an unnamed English man in his forties, who returns to his childhood home located in the English countryside of Sussex There he is drawn to familiar places which he has not seen for ages, and which evoke memories long buried He ends up by the house of his childhood friend, Lettie Hempstock, and remembers when he was seven years old and how Lettie used to call the pond beside her house an ocean.Ultimately, this is a lazy book for several reasons The first one is an enormously flat and dull narrative voice The narrator is obviously remembering his youth from an adult perspective, but the end effect is reduced to sentences in vein of I did this and that And then this happened There s absolutely no childish joy or fear, or even the adult s surprise at a sudden recollection of a forgotten memory of youth The language is lackluster, flavorless and as flat as the steppes of Kazakhstan, to the point of becoming downright dull and distracting because of its dullness How are the readers supposed to give a damn if we can barely muster the strength to turn the page Perhaps it s my own recent personal experience of spending a week in an English village while visiting my friends, but I thought that the setting of this book was another lost opportunity The countryside is beautiful, but all the the reader will get from it in this book is the fact that people live on farms and sometimes have small ponds near their houses There s no sense of place specific to Sussex or England in this book at all it could as well have taken place in the suburbs of Chicago.Not that long ago I read and reviewed The Land of Laughs, the debut novel of Jonathan Carroll, a fan favorite considered to be classic of fantasy which I found to b a bland play on fantasy tropes without much originality, I have the same complaints about The Ocean which really is nothing than an overly stretched short story, employing all the well known staples of the genre and made up to resemble a short novel The protagonist is an obvious stand in for the author, but besides waxing nostalgia and melancholy the novel doesn t seem to have any real goal or accomplish anything in particular It reads almost like Neil Gaiman s rushed assignment for a creative writing class he took ages ago full of pretension of powerful statements about human beings, deep as the ocean, but in reality being little else than the well known drizzle deep no than an ordinary puddle, which evaporates after a few days and leaves absolutely no mark.