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All booksFantasyOcean at the End of the Lane
Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Ocean at the End of the Lane

by Neil Gaiman

Quick take

A fantasy story from a child's eye with adult wisdom; a book both light-hearted and dark at the same time.

Why I love it

Book of the Month

Magical. Scary. Wonderful. Weird. A fantasy story from a child’s eye with adult wisdom; a tale of real monsters and imaginary people; a book both light-hearted and dark at the same time. The publisher calls it 'œas delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.' It’s a book that defies description, other than to say that it’s the kind of story you wish would last just a couple pages longer so you can linger in its strangely compelling world. If you only read one fantasy novel this year, it’s worth considering this short 2013 gem from one of the great masters of our time.

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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 where she once lived, 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.

A groundbreaking work as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark, 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.

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Member thoughts

All (900)
All (900)
Love (556)
Like (289)
Dislike (55)
924 ratings
  • 60% Love
  • 31% Like
  • 6% Dislike
  • Seattle, WA

    Very quick read, yet in no way does it feel that way in the end. Cram packed with details, curious plot events. A happy balance of dark, mysterious and adventurous! The best Neil intro one could ask f

  • New Brockton, AL

    A man does a flashback to his childhood and what transpired at the odd house down the street from him childhood home after a man committed suicide. Lettie and her family became protectors and friends.

  • Indianapolis, IN

    Huge Gaiman fan, but never read this work before. Excellently told story combining the fantastical and mundane expertly. I love the charm of the characters and the question of what if left in the end.

  • Chandler, AZ

    This book was strange but it was highly intriguing. It kept me entertained the entire time I was reading it. I never found myself bored or even annoyed by the characters. All in all this was a reall

  • San Jose, CA

    I am a Neil Gaiman fan already! This book for me just reiterates why I am a fan of his work. It is so well written and it pulls you in with every page you read, definitely a page turner. I loved it <3

  • Sacramento, CA

    It was not what I had expected but it turned out to be a great story & a quick read. There were moments I found myself chuckling, then moments where my anxiety took over! It was entertaining for sure.

  • Beacon, NY

    This book makes you question if the narrator is truly experiencing incredible things or if he's just muddling childhood trauma & innocence with an overactive imagination. A beautiful book all the way.


    I loved this book, it reunited me with my inner awkward child who loved stories like Alice in Wonderland and anything creepy or odd. This book is a great read with every turn catching you off guard.

  • St Paul, MN

    I've read it twice so far, and I don't think it ever loses its magic. The insights about childhood are wonderful. Reading Gaiman is often like being in a dream, and never more than reading this book.

  • Royal Oak, MI

    Gaiman never disappoints. The layered mythology of this book, that the reader only gets to glimpse, is fantastic, and he sets this coming of age tale within that framework in a way that only he can.

  • Springfield, MO

    TOATEOTL isn't your typical thriller, or fantasy or magical realism novel. It's in a category all its own: Neil Gaiman wrote it. He got under my skin and made me laugh, cry, jump and soar. 5 stars

  • Houston, TX

    This is possibly my favorite book of all time. Definitely checks all my boxes. Fantasy, mystery, terror... All done in Gaiman's signature mellifluous prose. Couldn't recommend this book any higher.

  • Redmond, WA

    The tale of a boy that stumbles upon an otherworldly creature that invades his life and shatters his family. A tale of drifting through the ocean that is the universe told in hindsight. A must read!

  • Chicago, IL

    Neil Gaiman is pure genius. Every single story he has ever written is completely different and he paints each world with a delicate stroke. You'll always find yourself reading into the late night.

  • Millersville , MD

    I loved this book! I can't remember the last time I read something so different and creative. There is nothing else like it, you will not want to put this book down. It will leave you wanting more!

  • Cullman, AL

    The writing is fluid and lyrical, and Gaiman knows how to pull the reader into his incredible worlds. I kept flipping the pages to find out what would happen next, and his descriptions are vivid.

  • Jamestown , NC

    My first BOTM! Thought it was going to be a normal story, once I realized it wasn't and let my initial perceptions go, I was really able to dive into it. Kept me interested and wanting to finish.

  • Austin, TX

    I haven't enjoyed a book this much since the Harry Potter series. I devoured this book in a day because I couldn't put it down. I want to read all of Gaiman's Work now. Such beautiful imagery!

  • Gig Harbor, WA

    Neil has a twisted imagination and I love swimming in it. I would love to know more about the Hempstock family. If he ever write a book about them, I'd swallow it whole the second it came out.

  • Warrenton, OR

    Is a window into the imaginations capacity to create worlds and adventure in an unpleasant reality while still giving you the hope and satisfaction that it could be real. Absolutely fantastic!

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