Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

the ocean at the end of the lane bookAuthor: Neil Gaiman

Hardcover: 192 pages

Publisher: William Morrow

ISBN-10: 0062255657
ISBN-13: 978-0062255655


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.

It began for our narrator forty years ago when he was seven: the lodger stole the family’s car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. 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 a menace unleashed — within his family, and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a ramshackle 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.

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.

What an amazing read. I devoured this book in a single afternoon, even though I was constantly interrupted by needs of my family and their insistance on being fed dinner. I was easily submersed in the world that Neil Gaiman (American Gods) creates in his new book The Ocean at the End of the Lane and when the book was over, I was sad. Not for the book to be ending. It ended perfectly. I just didn’t want that world to dissolve away.

I, for the most part, am a single experience reader. I often pick up a book, read it, love it or hate it, and I’m over it, with the only exception being the Harry Potter series which I’ve re-read several times. This book joins that exclusive club. In fact, I knew this to be true when I was half-way though it. I just knew I would need (WANT) to read it again. That I would want to tell other people to read it. That I would want to buy copies of it to lend and hope it got passed around rather than returned.

While the book is about a 7-year-old protagonist, it’s hardly a children’s book, though it could be enjoyed by a young adult. My favorite part is the elaborate and fantastic world that author Neil Gaiman weaves into the regular life of this young boy but doesn’t explain it to death. It just is, and while some aspects are questioned and explained, the entirety of it is riddled with holes, perfect for your imagination to run wild.

This book is a must read and it will surely be reread. You may or may not recall, but back in March we reported that even before this book was published it was set to be made into a movie. Here’s our coverage.

I give The Ocean at the End of the Lane Five out of Five Stars.

Jess Orso
Written by Jess Orso

Jess is the Managing Editor and Southern Correspondent for