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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
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New or Used: $11.95

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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Reviews

"Gaiman mines mythological typology--the three-foldgoddess, the water of life (the pond, actually an ocean)--and his own childhood milieu to build the cosmology and theater of a story he tells more gracefully than any he's told since "Stardust"...[a] lovely yarn."--Booklist (starred review) on OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE "Entirely absorbing and wholly moving...a haunting tale."--New York Newsday on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF LANE "[W]orthy of a sleepless night . . . a fairy tale for adults that explores both innocence lost and the enthusiasm for seeing what's past one's proverbial fence . . . Gaiman is a master of creating worlds just a step to the left of our own."--USA Today on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE "Remarkable . . . wrenchingly, gorgeously elegiac. . . . [I]n The Ocean at the End of the Lane, [Gaiman] summons up childhood magic and adventure while acknowledging their irrevocable loss, and he stitches the elegiac contradictions together so tightly that you won't see the seams."--Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE "[A] compelling tale for all ages . . . entirely absorbing and wholly moving."--New York Daily News on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE "[A] story concerning the bewildering gulf between the innocent and the authoritative, the powerless and the powerful, the child and the adult. . . . Ocean is a novel to approach without caution; the author is clearly operating at the height of his career."--The Atlantic Wire on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE "The impotence of childhood is often the first thing sentimental adults forget about it; Gaiman is able to resurrect, with brutal immediacy, the abject misery of being unable to control one's own life."--Laura Miller, Salon "Mr. Gaiman labels [his novel] 'for all ages, ' which is exactly right. It has grief, fear and regret, as well as love and awe-adult emotions, but children feel them too.... [L]ike all Mr. Gaiman's work, this is fantasy of the very best."--Wall Street Journal on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE "[W]ry and freaky and finally sad. . . . This is how Gaiman works his charms. . . . He crafts his stories with one eye on the old world, on Irish folktales and Robin Hood and Camelot, and the other on particle physics and dark matter."--Chicago Tribune on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE "Gaiman has crafted an achingly beautiful memoir of an imagination and a spellbinding story that sets three women at the center of everything. . . .[I]t's a meditation on memory and mortality, a creative reflection on how the defining moments of childhood can inhabit the worlds we imagine."--Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI) "This slim novel, gorgeously written, keeps its talons in you long after you've finished."--New York Post on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE "Ocean has that nearly invisible prose that keeps the focus firmly on the storytelling, and not on the writing. . . . This simple exterior hides something much more interesting; in the same way that what looks like a pond can really be an ocean."--io9 "In Gaiman's latest romp through otherworldly adventure, a young boy discovers a neighboring family's supernatural secret. Soon his innocence is tested by ancient, magical forces, and he learns the power of true friendship. The result is a captivating read, equal parts sweet, sad, and spooky."--Parade on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE "'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' is fun to read, filled with his trademarked blend of sinister whimsy. Gaiman's writing is like dangerous candy--you're certain there's ground glass somewhere, but it just tastes so good!"--Bookish (Houston Chronicle book blog) "His prose is simple but poetic, his world strange but utterly believable--if he was South American we would call this magic realism rather than fantasy."--The Times (London) on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE Remarkable . . . wrenchingly, gorgeously elegiac. . . . [I]n The Ocean at the End of the Lane, [Gaiman] summons up childhood magic and adventure while acknowledging their irrevocable loss, and he stitches the elegiac contradictions together so tightly that you won t see the seams. --Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE" Gaiman has crafted an achingly beautiful memoir of an imagination and a spellbinding story that sets three women at the center of everything. . . .[I]t s a meditation on memory and mortality, a creative reflection on how the defining moments of childhood can inhabit the worlds we imagine. --Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI)" [W]orthy of a sleepless night . . . a fairy tale for adults that explores both innocence lost and the enthusiasm for seeing what s past one s proverbial fence . . . Gaiman is a master of creating worlds just a step to the left of our own. --USA Today on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE" Poignant and heartbreaking, eloquent and frightening, impeccably rendered, it s a fable that reminds us how our lives are shaped by childhood experiences, what we gain from them and the price we pay. --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)" [A] compelling tale for all ages . . . entirely absorbing and wholly moving. --New York Daily News on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE" [A] story concerning the bewildering gulf between the innocent and the authoritative, the powerless and the powerful, the child and the adult. . . . Ocean is a novel to approach without caution; the author is clearly operating at the height of his career. --The Atlantic Wire on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE" Ocean has that nearly invisible prose that keeps the focus firmly on the storytelling, and not on the writing. . . . This simple exterior hides something much more interesting; in the same way that what looks like a pond can really be an ocean. --io9" This slim novel, gorgeously written, keeps its talons in you long after you ve finished. --New York Post on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE" In Gaiman s latest romp through otherworldly adventure, a young boy discovers a neighboring family s supernatural secret. Soon his innocence is tested by ancient, magical forces, and he learns the power of true friendship. The result is a captivating read, equal parts sweet, sad, and spooky. --Parade on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE" The impotence of childhood is often the first thing sentimental adults forget about it; Gaiman is able to resurrect, with brutal immediacy, the abject misery of being unable to control one s own life. --Laura Miller, Salon" [W]ry and freaky and finally sad. . . . This is how Gaiman works his charms. . . . He crafts his stories with one eye on the old world, on Irish folktales and Robin Hood and Camelot, and the other on particle physics and dark matter. --Chicago Tribune on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE" His prose is simple but poetic, his world strange but utterly believable if he was South American we would call this magic realism rather than fantasy. --The Times (London) on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE" The Ocean at the End of the Lane is fun to read, filled with his trademarked blend of sinister whimsy. Gaiman s writing is like dangerous candy you re certain there s ground glass somewhere, but it just tastes so good! --Bookish (Houston Chronicle book blog)" "Poignant and heartbreaking, eloquent and frightening, impeccably rendered, it's a fable that reminds us how our lives are shaped by childhood experiences, what we gain from them and the price we pay."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "When I finally closed the last page of this slim volume it was with the realization that I'd just finished one of those uncommon perfect books that come along all too rarely in a reader's life."--Charles DeLint, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE When I finally closed the last page of this slim volume it was with the realization that I d just finished one of those uncommon perfect books that come along all too rarely in a reader s life. --Charles DeLint, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction on THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE"

Gaiman here departs somewhat from his previous books, instead featuring greater emphasis on investigation of the human condition and a more subdued fantasy element. The main character revisits his boyhood, particularly a series of formative events surrounding his friendship with a girl named Lettie Hempstock. The plot rapidly evolves from reminiscent to scary to downright life-threatening, with profound reflections on mortality inherent in the drama. In this ominous environment, seeming evil is explained as a misplaced desire to please, and the ocean at the end of the lane is a liquid knowledge bath transcending space and time that helps rescue the boy. In fact, Lettie is one of the keepers of the ocean, and she and her family represent caretakers who manage the equilibrium of our world and protect the hapless. As we learn the full extent of our narrator's relationship with the Hempstocks, the absolute necessity of the act of forgetting becomes clear. VERDICT Scott Smith's The Ruins meets Astrid Lingren's Pippi Longstocking. A slim and magical feat of meaningful storytelling genius. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/12.]-Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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