Neil Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Headline
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    • ISBN:9781472210951
    • Publication date:18 Jun 2013
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane

By Neil Gaiman

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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.

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.

Biographical Notes

Neil Gaiman was born in England but now lives in Minnesota, in a big house of uncertain location where he accumulates computers and cats.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781472200310
  • Publication date: 18 Jun 2013
  • Page count: 256
Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul — Joanne Harris
I loved it — Roddy Doyle
Gaiman's achievement is to make the fantasy world seem true — The Times
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 tell — Independent on Sunday
A 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 book — Irish Times
The most affecting book Gaiman has written, a novel whose intensity of real-world observation and feeling make its other-worldly episodes doubly startling and persuasive — Daily Telegraph
This 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 — Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Bookseller
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 — Stylist Magazine
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 turned — SFX Magazine
Dark, strange and scarily brilliant: an otherworldly fable about memories and magic — Marie Claire
I 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 — GavReads
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 — Medium
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 — Den of Geek
A mind-bending tale with a hint of horror — Glamour
This book is another gentle earthquake under our psychological landscape — Time Out
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 days — Heat
The 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 — Financial Times
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 justified — The List
Gaiman'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, Ocean is cosmic yet domestic — Metro

Make Good Art

Neil Gaiman

A must for any fan of the storytelling genius that is Neil Gaiman, author of the acclaimed novel AMERICAN GODS and the highly anticipated new novel for adults, THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE.In May 2012, Neil Gaiman delivered the commencement address at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, in which he shared his thoughts about creativity, bravery, and strength. He encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to break rules and think outside the box. Most of all, he urged them to make good art.The book MAKE GOOD ART, designed by renowned graphic artist Chip Kidd, contains the full text of Gaiman's inspiring speech.Praise for Neil Gaiman:'A very fine and imaginative writer' The Sunday Times'Exhilarating and terrifying' Independent'Urbane and sophisticated' Time Out'A jaw-droppingly good, scary epic positively drenched in metaphors and symbols... As Gaiman is to literature, so Antoni Gaudi was to architecture' Midweek'Neil Gaiman is a very good writer indeed' Daily Telegraph


The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains

Neil Gaiman

Beautifully illustrated by renowned artist Eddie Campbell, this is a four-colour edition of Neil Gaiman's award-winning novelette "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains"- a haunting story of family, the otherworld, and a search for hidden treasure.The text of The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains was first published in the collection Stories: All New Tales (Headline, 2010). This gorgeous full-colour illustrated book version was born of a unique collaboration between writer Neil Gaiman and artist Eddie Campbell, who brought to vivid life the characters and landscape of Gaiman's story.In August 2010, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains was performed in the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House to a sell-out crowd - Gaiman read his tale live as Campbell's magnificent artwork was presented, scene by scene, on large screens. Narrative and art were accompanied by live music composed and performed especially for the story by the FourPlay String Quartet.


Headline designer Siobhan Hooper explains why she loves Neil Gaiman.

Headline Review

Anansi Boys

Neil Gaiman
The Ocean At The End of The Lane

Deluxe edition

Own a limited edition copy of THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, one of 260 hardbacks individually signed and numbered by Neil Gaiman, available exclusively in the UK.

The Ocean At The End of The Lane

Deluxe edition

Own a limited edition copy of THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, one of 260 hardbacks individually signed and numbered by Neil Gaiman, available exclusively in the UK.

Headliners pick their favourite summer reads

Blog: Staff Hot Picks for Summer 2013

Deep Blue Sea - Tasmina Perry Summer is approaching, and luckily we can always rely on a good book to take us somewhere special. I’ve been reading Tasmina Perry’s Deep Blue Sea, which offers glittering escapism. Sitting reading in my flat in London, Deep Blue Sea magically transported me to exotic locations – by luxury sports car and first-class cabin, no less. When I found myself on a white beach in Thailand or in lush Montego Bay, I could almost feel the sun on my skin and the sand beneath my feet. Tasmina Perry also offers the reader a VIP pass into the arena of the super-rich, with unprecedented access to country mansions and London townhouses, phone-hacking scandals and expensive law suits. I was gripped by this rare glimpse into the world Deep Blue Sea inhabits - dark and dangerous beneath the bright lights and glamour, a world every bit as corrupt as it is chic. I also loved the smart, female characters – women who are independent, successful and opinionated, with high-flying careers or as strong, outstanding mothers. Rather than envied, I admired these women, as their personalities outshone their cashmere jumpers and designer bags. Part of these women’s charm is that they are flawed, and wholly believable. They embarrass themselves and you cringe with them; they make the wrong choices and you want to shake them and tell them to wake up. Like the relationships you have with your friends, you both admire and admonish them, and love every second of it. More than anything, Deep Blue Sea is a thrilling read. I was thrown headfirst into an irresistible web of deceit, infidelity and murder, as well as love, laughter, friendship and fun. And on one last note, who could argue with one of my favorite lines of all: ‘Cake is one of life’s great pleasures’? So sit down with a slice of cake, a cup of tea (or perhaps an iced margarita) and dive into Deep Blue Sea. Christina Demosthenous, Editorial The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls – Anton DiSclafani There are books that reach out to their readers in ways perhaps unexpected, perhaps unsettling, perhaps uninvited. For me, and I believe for most, these are the books I remember, that seem to become a part of my history in a way I cannot really describe to anyone who has never truly loved a book. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is one of those books. Anton DiSclafani gathers enormous themes of love, lust, coming of age and the complexity of inter-human relationships in such unassuming fashion that you barely notice the enormity of it all until the sizzling conclusion. Yonahlossee is about a teenage girl learning about herself and the people around her. This is both a challenge and a joy to read, particularly for those close to their siblings, for those baffled by their parents, for those who want too much, or who want anything at all. Darcy Nicholson, Editorial The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman I have long been a Neil Gaiman fan and I’ve been so excited about The Ocean at the End of the Lane since I came to Headline. A beautiful fable of memories, magic and friendship, I don’t think anyone could read this and not be hit with a sense of nostalgia. Through a young man returning home and reminiscing on his childhood, we’re introduced to some amazing characters – most notably Lettie Hempstock (I wish I could have had a best friend as cool as her when I was 7!). As soon as I started this I was reminded of how wonderful it felt to be a child engrossed in books, full of innocence and occasionally being fearful of adults! Quite possibly Gaiman’s best novel yet. Deirdre O’Connell, Sales

Headline Review


Neil Gaiman
Posted by Ben Hatch, Author

Blog: Down the Hatch

Daniela, our forager, meets us at our hotel. She’s tall and willowy with mesmeric upper class teeth, the front bottom two of which seem to slope slightly forward like an old-fashioned up and over garage door. She’s wearing brown furry boots, jogging bottoms and a gilet and bounces like a spaceman on the moon. On the drive to the foraging place Daniela tells us she’s also a body and mind therapist and that her boyfriend’s one of the country’s foremost experts on fungi. ‘Self-taught,’ she adds, meaning I’m thinking, ‘Lots of trips to the hospital to have his stomach pumped.’ It’s half-term, we’re in Devon and I don’t want to go foraging. Neither do the kids (Phoebe, 8 and Charlie, 6). It’s windy, cold, too early and I’d rather be eating breakfast back at the hotel. The buffet bangers are under a metal hood beside cooked tomatoes and mushrooms and the toast’s brought straight to the table. There’s no need to forage. But my wife Dinah wants to. Foraging is new, sustainable, cool and growing in popularity, and besides she has to write an article about it. We’re foraging in Sidmouth and, as Daniela scours the banks of the river Ford, the first edible plant she discovers is hogweed. It has a purple furry stem, smells like orange peel, is apparently the poor man’s asparagus and is not to be confused, she tells us, after we’ve eaten some, with giant hogweed that looks a lot like it but has photosensitive juice, which can cause burning of the skin, blisters and lifelong changes to skin colour. As we wait nervously for the potential third degree burns and permanent disfigurement, Daniela snaps off the top of a nettle in her gloved hand and fans it out for us like a bouquet of peonies. It’s great in nettle soup, abundant and our most overlooked salad leaf, she says, her eyes shining. Enthused, the kids sting themselves picking some and Dinah’s so mesmerised by Daniela she leans unwittingly forward to SNIFF the nettles and is stung on the tip of her nose. We move to the beach. It’s now so cold and windblown that Charlie, who hates his coat more than anything in the world, has not only put it on but voluntarily pulled his hood up. Daniela moves along the foot of the rocky cliff and, as the kids complain they want to go, and are periodically blown into the brambles, she finds sea radish, sea plantain, rock samphire and alexanders, although by now I’m dubious. We’ve no idea what anything is. She could be making it up – adding the word ‘sea’ to the front of ordinary vegetables. My knowledge of green things ends at rocket, and Dinah’s so un-outdoorsy she doesn’t even own a proper coat. And besides isn’t there a reason people don’t eat random plants? ‘So have you ever eaten anything poisonous?’ I ask Daniela, as we chew what she’s suspiciously claiming is sea spinach. ‘No,’ she says, picking up something that she seems to believe we’ll accept is actually called ox-eye-daisy or whoopsy-daisy or something like that, ‘but a forager friend of mine,’ she adds, ‘once ate hemlock water drop wart.’ ‘And what happened to him?’ I ask. ‘He went into a coma,’ says Daniela, matter-of-factly. ‘Oh!’ And I look at Dinah, who takes another defiant bite but quietly removes the plant from Phoebe and Charlie’s hands, I notice. ‘What's a coma?’ says Phoebe ‘It's when your heart gets out of control and you go to sleep for a few days and come close to death,’ says Daniela, breezily picking up something else. ‘Here try this. It’s Sea lettuce. No, hang on…’ She drops it, and picks something else. ‘This is Sea lettuce.’ ‘That's why it's best only to eat leaves that experts say is OK,’ I say to the kids. ‘But he was an expert,’ says Phoebe. ‘The simple lesson is never eat anything at all that looks like a flat leaf parsley plant,’ says Daniela. ‘And what do they look like?’ I ask, as Charlie reaches into the undergrowth to independently pick some furry looking leaf he immediately pops into his mouth, but my question’s swept away by the wind, as is Phoebe, who flounders in a clump of what? Sea turnips, sea swedes? sea parsnips? …who knows what this stuff is. Walking back to the car, Daniela tells us that a government minister once told a friend of hers that foraging would become more and more important as the banking system collapsed and currencies devalued and became worthless and people began scouring hedgerows to stay alive. As she says this she is childishly kicking a stone along the dirt path. ‘But that's unsubstantiated,’ she adds, to Dinah, who’s making notes, ‘So don't take it out of context.’ Back at the hotel we catch the end of breakfast. Leaving half an hour later, warm again and bloated with bacon, sausages, toast and egg, the world order still looks relatively intact, leaving me confident enough of our survival over the next 48 hours to abandon the now squashed looking fruits of our foraging labour in the bin.

Juliana Gray discusses...

her Affairs By Moonlight trilogy

T. S. Eliot once named April as the cruelest month, but for my money it’s February. The holidays are a distant champagne-scented memory. The weather’s either cold, or miserable, or miserably cold. Everybody has the flu. You’re ready to burn that gorgeous new raspberry-colored coat you bought in November to brighten up your winter. In fact, it’s just about the time of year you begin to fantasize about chucking everything and heading to Tuscany. Sunny, picturesque Tuscany, full of wine and good food and…well, more wine. Start over. Lease a villa somewhere, a crumbling castle perhaps, full of history and local flavor, vineyards trailing down the hillside. A housekeeper would be nice, the sort who bakes fresh bread every day and seems to anticipate your every wish, as if by magic. Well, that’s exactly what my characters do in A Duke Never Yields, one of the Affairs by Moonlight trilogy: three English lords, three English ladies, all of them bent on a year of simple living, away from the temptations of London. Except that each one has his or her own secret reasons for hiding here among the Tuscan hills…and the castle itself appears to have been mysteriously double-booked. You can imagine what happens next, especially when the handsome and taciturn Duke of Wallingford is forced to match wits with the lovely Miss Abigail Harewood and her madcap charm, and to confront his own licentious past. Comedy and conflict lead inevitably to romance and redemption, under the enchantment of the silver Tuscan moonlight. And when all three couples find their happily ever afters at last, the magic old castle and its occupants will never be the same. Juliana Gray's A Duke Never Yields is available now in ebook and paperback.

Headline Eternal

A Gentleman Never Tells: Affairs By Moonlight Book 2

Juliana Gray

A GENTLEMAN NEVER TELLS is the second scintillating novel in Juliana Gray's debut Affairs by Moonlight trilogy. You'll be swept away by the fabulously inventive plot, witty writing, heart-stopping romance and glorious Italian setting. Perfect for fans of Julia Quinn and Suzanne Enoch, Juliana is a dazzling new talent in romance.Six years ago, Elizabeth Harewood and Lord Roland Penhallow were London's golden couple, young, beautiful and wildly in love. Forced apart by her scheming relatives and his clandestine career, Lilibet and Roland buried their passion beneath years of duty and self-denial, until a chance holiday encounter changes everything they ever knew about themselves...and each other. But Miss Elizabeth Harewood is now the Countess of Somerton, estranged wife of one of England's most brutal and depraved aristocrats, and she can't afford the slightest hint of scandal to her name. When Roland turns up mysteriously at the castle where she's hidden herself away, she struggles to act as a lady should, but the gallant lover of her youth has grown into an irresistibly dashing and dangerous man, and temptation is only a single kiss away...


The Leaving of Liverpool

Lyn Andrews

Working as a lady's maid to Miss Olivia Mercer in Liverpool in 1919, Phoebe-Ann Parkinson dreams of a grander future. But when a tragic attack threatens her sister Emily's life, Phoebe-Ann is driven from the Mercer household and into the arms of Jake, one of the notorious, drunken Malone clan. Phoebe-Ann is abandoned by her family, and her dreams are turning into a nightmare. But as Emily begins to recover, Phoebe-Ann is able to look forward to leaving Liverpool and her past behind her.

Headline Eternal

A Duke Never Yields: Affairs By Moonlight Book 3

Juliana Gray

A DUKE NEVER YIELDS is the delightful third novel in Juliana Gray's debut Affairs by Moonlight trilogy. You'll be swept away by the fabulously inventive plot, witty writing, heart-stopping romance and glorious Italian setting. Perfect for fans of Julia Quinn and Suzanne Enoch, Juliana is a dazzling new talent in romance.Impatient with the strictures of polite British society, Miss Abigail Harewood has decided to live life on her own terms - and the first thing she requires is a lover. When the commanding Duke of Wallingford arrives on the doorstep of her leased holiday castle, she thinks she's found the perfect candidate: handsome, dashing, and experienced in the art of love. But tempting Wallingford into her bed proves more difficult than she imagined. Restless and dissatisfied with his debauched life in London, the formerly rakish duke is determined to spend a year chaste. But as Abigail tries her best to seduce him, Wallingford finds his resolve crumbling in the face of her irresistible charm...and her alluring secrets.


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A festive round up from the crew at Tinder Press

Tinder Press Authors' Recommended Christmas Reads

My recommended buy for a Christmas present this year would be Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, which I haven't read yet. This recommendation is basically a hint to my own friends and family, who I am hoping might happen across this blog. Tartt's writing is awe-inspiring, and I particularly like the sound of The Goldfinch's mystery element; very well suited to reading on the sofa next to a fire, with the winter night close outside. My favourite book world moment of the year was Alice Munro winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. She is one of my favourite writers, concerned above all with what it is to be human: asking that question in each of her subtle, beautifully precise short stories. Natalie Young is the author of SEASON TO TASTE, which is published by Tinder Press on 16th January 2014. Natalie tells us about the books which have inspired her this year: The storm came at the end of October. Winds dragged a telephone wire across the stump of an old tree and blew leaves up against the windows of a cottage I’d rented in Dorset. I woke up to find them around the house – tiny and yellow – like a hundred handprints up against the windows. I stayed indoors with Doris Lessing and The Golden Notebook and the short stories in Dear Life by Alice Munro. ‘These four stories at the back’, she whispered to me, ‘are the closest things I have to say about my own life’. I ran through the pages, hunting her down, and still I sift through the images in my head of a small house beyond the river and a small girl disappearing over the bridge. Helen Walsh is the author of THE LEMON GROVE, which is published by Tinder Press on 27th February 2014. There are two books I will be giving as presents this year. The first is the paperback edition of Kevin Power’s The Yellow Birds, which is one of the most accomplished debuts I have read in a long while. Spare, poetic and beautifully written, we follow the narrator John Bartle, a brooding, emotionally tormented veteran, as he moves back and forth between his native America and his tour of duty of Iraq. In terms of plot, not that much happens, but it is Kevin Power’s sensitive and masterfully handled portrayal of the legacy of damage and the loss of innocence in the young soldiers deployed in battle, that makes this a must read for anyone interested in the human condition. I will also be wrapping up copies of Jenn Ashworth’s The Friday Gospels to give to friends. It is one of my favourite novels of 2013 and reminds me very much of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, except the family in Ashworth’s novel are British Lancastrian Mormons. Like The Corrections, The Friday Gospels is both important and insightful and very very funny.


Prince Charles_HRH's guide to Great Britishness


There are plenty of guidebooks on Great Britain, but none have been given the all-important Royal Seal of Approval. Who better to teach the world than the heir to the throne?His Royal Highness will cover everything from History ('Might have to sell France to pay for Richard III's car park fine') to British cities ('If you're wondering why the British are so good at cycling and rowing, take a look at the cost of public transport') and The Arts ('The Madness of King George III - fantastic film. Americans didn't go to the cinema because they hadn't seen the first two. Awkward)'.Tackling the all-important issues such as why we Brits can form a perfectly ordinary queue with just two people, or why we love a Full English Breakfast despite the fact it contains 465,873 calories, Prince @Charles_HRH's Guide to Great Britishness is a hilarious romp around our sceptered Isle.


Saris and the City

Rekha Waheed


Lynda Page


It's time for the monthly team meal. This time, we took a stroll to fake Baker Street (actually North Gower Street) to check out Speedy's...