.

.

April 21, 2014

The Ocean at the End of the Lane


The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Fantasy
2013 Harper Audio
Reader: Neil Gaiman
Finished on 2/16/14
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)




Publisher’s Blurb:

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.

A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman’s first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys. This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real...

Move over, Jim Dale; I think I’m in love. Neil Gaiman has such a rich, smooth voice; I would happily listen to him read a Subaru service manual. What a fabulous performance (because, quite honestly that’s really what this experience felt like; not simply an author reading his book, but one who is telling you his story). I enjoyed it so much that I found myself listening to a track a second time, and I even considered listening to the entire book once again. I’ve only experienced one other book by Gaiman (The Graveyard Book) and now I’m eager to sample more from his backlist, especially if the audio books are narrated by the author.

Final Thoughts:

In a word, enchanting. This slim novel (a fairy tale for adults, really) is worth your time. Read it. Listen to it. Just don’t miss it!

12 comments:

  1. Wow, you want to listen to it again? I've read 2 of Gaiman's books - I loved one and thought the other was okay - so I've been a little apprehensive about this one. I will give it a try one of these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a fairly short book, so listening a second time would be easy enough for me to fit into my schedule. I'm not sure how much I would've enjoyed the tale if I just read the book. Gaiman truly made it a wonderful listening experience!

      Delete
  2. Neil Gaiman is teaching a class at my daughter's college this semester... she said she briefly considered changing her major in order to be enrolled. I've never read him, but this sounds like a good time to start!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WOW!! How cool is that?! I'd love to sit in on a lecture or two, but I'll bet they're pretty strict about people just lurking around to hear him speak. ;)

      Delete
  3. Now this will surprise you. (Not.) I coudn't read more than a few pages. Scared me. Didn't like ominous feel. And I hate fairy tales. Didn't read them to my kids. We're batting really high this year, dear one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! No, this doesn't surprise me in the least. And it made me laugh out loud. :) I'm with you, though, with regard to fairy tales. Don't care for them, but for some reason, this book really was entertaining. Maybe it's more fantasy than a fairy tale?

      Delete
  4. WOW -- surprised to see the high rating on the audio as I know a few other readers who thought the audio was difficult. Glad u loved it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm surprised other readers found the audio difficult! I thought it was marvelous.

      Delete
  5. Maybe I'd like it better if Neil read it to me himself, but I doubt it. I thought the writing wonderful, the story not so much. But, I suspect I'm just not bananas about Neil like everyone else is. Same goes for Roberto Bolano, but that's a whole other story. Bellezza, Party of One.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't quite jumped on the Gaiman fan wagon, but I did enjoy this one quite well. I'm eager to try another one of his books, but I'll listen rather than read, especially one which he reads himself.

      Delete
  6. There is also a recording of Neil reading The Graveyard Book and one of Stardust, both of which I loved. And I agree with you about his voice. He could read the phone book and I'd be transfixed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll have to get the audio of Stardust since it's been on my list for ages. Thanks for the recommendation and for stopping by with your comment, Kathy.

      Delete

I may not answer your comments in a timely fashion, but I always answer. Check back soon!