Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


General Fiction > Fantasy

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.

Literary Awards: Goodreads Choice for Fantasy (2013), Specsavers Book of the Year (2013), Paris Review Best of the Best (2013)


Neil Gaiman reading experience will always, always be surreal.

“Nothing’s ever the same,” she said. “Be it later or a hundred years. It’s always churning and roiling. And people change as much as oceans.”

There’s no turning back once I picked up The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I just got sucked in. The fantasy that might be too much for a boy, might just be relentless reality for a grown-up man looking for something, something to fill up his tired soul.

The last Neil Gaiman I read is The Graveyard Book, so now I remember the melancholic mood when reading his work.

The Hempstocks. The cleaners. Ursula. Lettie. These characters extracted different emotions from me, just because a boy is praying so hard that his life will go back to what it once was. Can it be that simple?

I adore the Hempstocks. Their secrets, obscurity, and selflessness are entertaining to read. But when one selfless act was made to save another, was it worth it? Will the saved be forever be guilt-tripped into living good so the the other will feel compensated?

A short read, but The Ocean at the End of the Lane reaches deep. The truth about families, about father-son relationship, about unreliable memories – it’s here. and much more.



Paperback, 181 pages

Published June 18th 2013 by Harper Collins

5/5 stars

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

  1. I have never met a Neil Gaiman book that I didn’t like. 🙂 This is no exception. Yeah, I agree it’s surreal, and kinda melancholic too. Lettie sounds like the sister we all wish we could have.

  2. Pingback: Challenge: 2014 Off-the-Shelf Challenge | reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

  3. Pingback: The Ocean at the End of the Lane- Neil Gaiman | Lucybird's Book Blog

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