Fiction

Review GPA: THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE by Neil Gaiman

This post is part of our Neil Gaiman Reading Day: a celebration of one of our favorite authors on the occasion of the publication of his new novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Check out the full line-up here.

Ocean at the end of the lane by neil gaiman
US edition

Publication Date: June 18th, 2013

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: William Morrow

Publisher’s Synopsis:

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.

 

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From the  Wall Street Journal review:

Gold Star:

“The best fantasy keeps its feet firmly planted in the real world while offering a vision of what lies beyond, and like all Mr. Gaiman’s work, this is fantasy of the very best.”

Demerit:

None.

Grade: A

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From the USA Today review by Ben Truitt:

Gold Star:

“Gaiman is a master of creating worlds just a step to the left of our own. You’ll be glad you took a dip in his immersive Ocean.”

Demerit:

None.

Grade:  A-

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From the Entertainment Weekly review by Darren Frenich:

Gold Star:

“The boy winds up under the heel of the demonic Ursula Monkton, a governess who suggests an evil Mary Poppins. She’s a fascinating character — whenever she appears, you can feel the book come to life..”

Demerit:

“Unfortunately, the protagonist is also the novel’s least compelling character. As a coming-of-age reverie, Ocean is a fitfully interesting trifle, but you’re constantly catching glimpses of a more interesting, darker, stranger tale farther down the lane…”

Grade: B- (publication assigned)

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From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune review by William Alexander:

Gold Star:

“..he summons up childhood magic and adventure while acknowledging their irrevocable loss, and he stitches the elegiac contradictions together so tightly that you won’t see the seams.”

Demerit:

None

Grade:  A

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From the Kirkus Review

Gold Star

“Poignant and heartbreaking, eloquent and frightening, impeccably rendered, it’s a fable that reminds us how our lives are shaped by childhood experiences, what we gain from them and the price we pay.”

Demerit:

None

Grade: A

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Review GPA: 3.75 (A/A-)

 

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