Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Review: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

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 the 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 defense 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. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

A strange thing happened when I started reading this book:  I heard Neil's voice in my head. It was the oddest sensation, as though I was listening to him narrate the audio version. This has never happened to me before, and it was more than a little disconcerting. Thankfully, it was only during the prologue and the characters took over once the story began in earnest. A very odd, but somewhat magical experience.

I tend to read Neil's books more than once, as I always seem to miss something the first time round. After only one reading (so far), I can absolutely recommend this book!

The main character of the story is a seven year old boy, but he seemed remarkably mature and accepting for his age. His family falls on hard times and needs to take in a lodger, so he loses his bedroom and must now share a room with his little sister. One of the lodgers steals the family car, commits suicide, and sets off a chain of events best left undisturbed.

It's an engrossing tale of a little boy who is thrust into an adventure, complete with monsters. As a huge Gaiman fan, I love his writing, plot pace, and character development. And this story has it all! I especially loved the Hempstock women, who lived in the farmhouse at the end of the lane. Daughter, mother, grandmother. Maiden, mother, crone? You never can tell with Neil, which is another reason I love his writing.

I really enjoyed this story, and am looking forward to rereading it and discovering any hidden depths that I may have missed the first time. Or not, as sometimes a story is simply a story. Either way, it's a good read!

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


  1. I do this all the time and it can be so disconcerting.
    I remember a reading a novel written by a well known tv presenter and 'hearing' his broad Yorkshire accent did nothing for the novel which was a 'chilling gothic thriller' set in Italy.
    Anyway, hearing lots of good things about this novel, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Glad to know I'm not the only one hearing voices! It was a very odd experience, but made the story a little more magical for me. :)

  2. I've not read any of his books. But I want to get to them one day. And I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it! All of them really. :) Thank you.