WINNER OF THE SPECSAVERS NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS 2013 BOOK OF THE YEAR
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark - from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman.
It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond this world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.
His only defence is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.
Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul
itGaiman's achievement is to make the fantasy world seem true
It's possibly Gaiman's most lyrical, scary and beautiful work yet
. It's a tale about childhood for grown-ups, a fantasy rooted in the darkest corners of reality. It is a story he's been waiting all his life to tellA hugely satisfying
scary fantasy and a moving
, subtle exploration of family, of what it's really like to be a child, and how the memories of childhood affect the adults we become. It's a wonderful
bookThe most affecting
book Gaiman has written, a novel whose intensity of real-world observation
and feeling make its other-worldly episodes doubly startling and persuasiveThis beautiful fable with flashes of terror and sparks of humour
is about memory and magic and the darkness that lives without and within. Loneliness and longing saturate the pages but so does the redemptive power of friendship in the person of the magnificently adorable Lettie Hempstock
It's a very rare thing, maybe once a decade, for a novel to come along and within a few pages you know you're reading a future classic
. If you haven't heard of Neil Gaiman yet you can be forgiven, but this, his sixth adult novel, will firmly cement his handprints in the literary walk of fame...this is one of those stories that is almost primitive in its power - it captures you heart and soul
, and makes you grateful we have storytellers like Gaiman to feed our minds and stoke our imaginations. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is this year's big bang book
This is a book to sink into
, allowing yourself to be gradually pulled along by its currents, into a childhood that's half remembered. Events take place over just a few days, and since the consequences of his actions are forgotten by the main character, it's easy to believe that nothing of importance has really happened. But experiencing those few days, that snippet of a childhood and a quest for survival in a world that's already terrifying for children is a joy, an experience that will stay with you long after the final page is turnedDark, strange and scarily brilliant
: an otherworldly fable about memories and magicI really don't want to say too much about the story itself. I will say it is short as it focused on one event, one wrong that needs to be put right. And because of that focus Neil Gaiman is free to explore the minor but significant details as well as look at the grander parts of life. It made me smile, it made me sad, it made my heart ache and it made me think. "What else could I ask for?" Read it
A book that will resonate powerfully with anyone attempting to process the darker aspects of their own childhood. And in an age when childhood ends early, and often brutally, that makes it a book for almost everyone
If it's not just for adults, and not quite for children, there is one age-flexible group it is written for. An obtuse thing to say about a book it may be, but The Ocean at the End of the Lane
was written for readers
. It's for people to whom books were and are anaesthesia, companion, and tutor. If you're one of them, you'll want to wade into it, past your ankles, knees and shoulders, until it laps over the crown of your head. You'll want to dive in
A mind-bending tale
with a hint of horrorThis book is another gentle earthquake under our psychological landscape
If you think fantasy books are only for people who enjoy rocking a sock/sandal combo and dressing up as warlocks at the weekend, think again. It's brilliantly written
and you can whizz through it in a couple of daysThe novel is a children's book, in the sense that it is a book about childhood. A child could read and enjoy it but only an adult will appreciate its bittersweet nuances and subtle sadnesses
. In prose as delicate and diaphanous as a cobweb
, and with a painstakingly precise use of symbolism, Gaiman traces one boy's journey from innocence, through fear and regret, to experience. In doing so, he traces all of our journeys, and beautifully
Gaiman does this sort of thing as well as anybody, and after a low-key beginning he builds the tension with skill
, resulting in some truly scary moments. Like the ocean in the duck pond, he creates a sense of scale far greater than the modest rural setting in which the action takes place. There is real heart too
, most notably in the narrator's touching friendship with Lettie Hempstock, the girl from down the lane who may have been 11 years old for a very long time. These days there is a weight of expectation on anything Gaiman writes. Happily, this novel proves once again that the hype is justifiedGaiman's storytelling is mythic
, laced with ritual and minutiae - Lettie, her mother and crone tend their farm, banish creatures, cut and stitch the fabric of time and provide helpings of porridge... the richness of being seven, when happiness is a mix of books, sweets and adult injustice, is perfectly conveyed
. Brief but memorable
is cosmic yet domestic
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is a novel about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us, created by the unparalleled imaginative power of Neil Gaiman.
Neil Gaiman is the author of over thirty acclaimed books and graphic novels for adults and children, including AMERICAN GODS, STARDUST, CORALINE and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. His most recent novel for adults, THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE was highly acclaimed, appeared on the hardback and paperback Sunday Times bestseller lists and won several awards, including being voted Book of the Year in the National Book Awards 2013: 'Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul' Joanne Harris.
The recipient of numerous literary honours, Neil Gaiman's work has been adapted for film, television and radio. He has written scripts for Doctor Who, collaborated with authors and illustrators including Terry Pratchett, Dave McKean and Chris Riddell, and THE SANDMAN is established as one of the classic graphic novels. As George R R Martin says: 'There's no one quite like Neil Gaiman.'
Originally from England, Neil Gaiman now lives in America.
Neil Gaiman is a tour de force
of creative talent. He is the bestselling author of STARDUST and CORALINE, both of which are major motion films. Neil also co-wrote the script for Beowulf
starring Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie. He is the creator/writer of the award-winning Sandman
comic series and has written several books for children.Neil's acclaimed
will be broadcast on Radio Four and Radio Four Extra
in March 2013, brought to life by a stellar cast
of celebrated actors including James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Schofield, Anthony Head , Bernard Cribbins , Romola Garai, Christopher Lee, Andrew Sachs, George Harris, Don Gilet, Abdul Salis, Paul Chequer, Yasmin Paige
and Johnny Vegas.
ANANSI BOYS debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times
bestseller list and AMERICAN GODS won the Bram Stoker Award best novel, the Nebula Award for best novel and the Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel in 2002 and was a nominee for the BSFA award. It is currently in development for television by HBO.Neil's official website has more than one million unique visitors each month, his online journal is syndicated to thousands of blog readers every day and he has nearly two million followers on Twitter.Neil's books have won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, Newbery Medal, and Carnegie Medal in Literature and have been translated into more than twenty-eight languages.