*Have You Heard? * Audiobooks For Your Listening Pleasure* The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Posted October 12, 2016 by RobbieLea in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

*Have You Heard? * Audiobooks For Your Listening Pleasure* The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil GaimanThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Also by this author: Anansi Boys
Published by Harper Audio, William Morrow Books on June 18th 2013
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 178
Format: Audiobook
ISBN: 0062255657

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.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, 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. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

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#NeilGaiman #Fantasy #SussexEngland #GoodandEvil #Magic @neilhimself @HarperAudio

listeningladyThere are two reasons I chose Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane for my review this week: I needed a fairly short listen due to time constraints and I wanted to review a book narrated by the author.  This book met those two criteria perfectly. What a delightful listen! I could never have predicted I would become so engrossed in a book which is essentially fantasy and could almost qualify as a children’s book. There are some dark passages which would make the book unsuitable for children, but the tone, which is much like a fairy tale, is lyrical and mystical. In doing my research for my review, I discovered that the author has, in fact, written a number of children’s books and had gone almost a decade without writing an adult book until The Ocean at the End of the Lane was published in 2013. Widely acclaimed, the book won numerous awards including the British National Book Awards Book of the Year for 2013, Audiobook of the Year, and the Goodreads Choice Award for Fantasy.

The story is told from the perspective of a man who has returned to his childhood home for a funeral and finds himself remembering his experiences as a 7-year-old-year-old boy. Listeners soon learn the boy, who is never named, was a solitary child who lived his life through books. One thing that was impressive to me is that even though the boy freely admits no one came to his 7th birthday party, he sounds more bewildered than pitiable. The author makes it possible for the reader to identify with the child without feeling sorry for him. “Books were safer than other people anyway,” he declares at one point, and “Growing up, I took so many cues from books. They taught me most of what I knew about what people did, about how to behave. They were my teachers and my advisers.” To him, the circumstances of his life just are what they are, but they do make him even more vulnerable to the magic that lies at the end of his lane, the world inhabited by Lettie Hempstock, her mother, and grandmother. I loved these three characters and the matter-of-fact way they dealt with things that would scare the rest of us to death! I loved that, even though they’re magical creatures, they don’t do spells because “Gran doesn’t hold with none of that. She says it’s common,” and by the same token, no Hempstock would ever die, because dying, like doing spells, is “common.” ?

Now, as to the author as narrator . . . I don’t see how anyone could have given a better performance. If he or she has the gift for it (and Neil Gaiman definitely has the gift!), who better to read the words, than the one who wrote them? Mr. Gaiman is engaging as the 7-year-old protagonist and his 11-year-old friend Lettie, and he is equally convincing as the very creepy and seductive adult, Ursula Monkton.  You can dissect this book 100 different ways for hidden meanings, or you can do as my son, who is an artist, often tells me. Just accept it as it is. In the author’s own words, he makes things up and writes them down. In this case, he made up a jewel of a book that will spark the imagination of any reader and is now ours to enjoy. I’m already looking forward to listening to The Ocean at the End of the Lane again because the language and imagery are so beautiful. I have no doubt the story will open up in a new way each time it is read or heard.


About Neil Gaiman

I make things up and write them down. Which takes us from comics (like SANDMAN) to novels (like ANANSI BOYS and AMERICAN GODS) to short stories (some are collected in SMOKE AND MIRRORS) and to occasionally movies (like Dave McKean’s MIRRORMASK or the NEVERWHERE TV series, or my own short film A SHORT FILM ABOUT JOHN BOLTON).

In my spare time I read and sleep and eat and try to keep the blog at www.neilgaiman.com more or less up to date.

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