The Ocean at the End of the Lane
By Neil Gaiman
- Author: Neil Gaiman
- Publisher: William Morrow
- Published: June 2013
- ISBN-10: 0062255657
- ISBN-13: 9780062255655
- Format: Hardcover
- Copyright: 2013
- Subject: FICTION-SCIFI/FANTASY
A Globe & Mail 100 Selection
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.
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Beware the Fleas“The Ocean at the End of the Lane” plays with the idea of recall and oblivion, about those things from our childhood that appear to mark us indelibly and yet somehow fade from our mind as we get older. How can something so profound happen to us, sear us to the soul and yet be utterly forgotten? Is it really important to remember all the details of the little footprints that we leave behind us in our journey towards maturity? Mr. Gaiman’s novel teases us with these questions even as he unravels a spool of memory of its protagonist, a man who relives a horrifying and transformative incident from his childhood, an incident he is constantly remembering and forgetting throughout the years. The language is lyrical, hinting of other worlds and unspeakable monsters, of world-devouring creatures that are more powerful than we and irritatingly smaller than they think they are. It is utterly beautiful and sublime in the rich simplicity of its language. It is one of those novels that tempts you to close your eyes simply in order to imagine the pictures that he is painting with his words and yet makes you read it throughout the night, eager to see how it all ends. You come away from this novel profoundly moved, both to smiles and tears. You desire that the protagonist remember what happened to him, if only to pay tribute to the unforgettable Lettie Hempstock. This novel is a reminder of other Lettie Hempstocks from long ago and makes you wonder what you would say if that person stood before you and called you to accounts.