• Book

The ocean at the end of the lane

by Gaiman, Neil.

There are currently 7 available

Where To Find It

Call number: Fantasy

Available Copies: Downtown 1st Floor, Pittsfield Adult, Traverwood Adult, West Adult

Additional Details

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 ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

Community Reviews


I agree with the reviewers that say this is a book about a child's life, but not a book for children. I didn't find it scary (and I'm easily scared) but I think children would, and it deals with some adult themes. That being said, I loved the magic in the book--Gaiman's writing style was vivid and colorful and really brought the world to life for me. I couldn't put this book down!

Highly recommended

Gaiman writes fantasy about things that go bump in the night. This one is shorter than most... but it's amazing. You read it wondering what it is that you don't know about the world around you.

Highly recommended.

A Modern Fairy Tale

I think the casual reader will find this book very enjoyable. It is fantastical and frankly, quite frightening; I don't remember the last time I became legitimately scared while reading.

However, the more I think about the book, the more I am struck by how deep it is - I imagine English teachers simply adore this book. Neil Gaiman is a masterful writer - the story is rife with archetypes such as the triple goddess (maiden, mother, and crone as one) and water (the ocean) as a symbol of the unconsciousness, elements which render it powerful and meaningful.

Brought tears to my eyes.

A seven-year-old boy's new nanny has bewitched his family and only he can see the monster she truly is. His only allies are a trio of strange, friendly women at a nearby farm.

In the first chapter, the protagonist as a middle-aged man visits his childhood home for a funeral, and it's BORING...which accents the utter richness and simplicity and innocence of childhood when memory comes crashing in on him. It's like that moment when Dorothy steps out of her black-and-white house and everything is in color.

It's a powerful illustration of childhood. He's sad that no one shows up at his birthday party but he's even happier to be able to bury his nose in a book. He knows that "naked" is bad, although he doesn't really understand why. He knows that children explore but adults take paths and always know what to do. He is confused that grownups take wonderful delicious things like peas and put them in cans and make them repulsive, and he has simple faith that his new friends will protect him when the monsters come.

It reminded me strongly of Coraline at first: a bright young child's family is endangered by a sneaky supernatural fiend, and adults won't or can't help. But where Coraline is about empowerment, Ocean is simply an acknowledgment of the wonder and terror of being a child.

Reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane really made me relive my own childhood...Gaiman tapped into some magic when he wrote this.

Creepy Fun

.... about an alternate world that exists alongside ours, and how it impacts a seven year old boy. The back cover of the dust jacket has a great photo of the author as a child that really fits in with the story.

Gaiman's descriptions of childhood fears, his quintessentially English house and garden and the neighboring farms, and the people (and/or beings) the main character encounters are superb. Now imagine a supernatural Guinea worm in your foot....

Scary for Kids, but I Loved It!

This book made me realize how shameful it is that I haven't read more of Neil Gaiman's writing. He. Is. Amazing. I loved reading this story on so many levels. First, it's just a wonderful fairy tale that I think young adults would like. It's not really a story for children, though I'm sure if they make a movie of it (please let them make a movie of it!), it'll be marketed that way. I think there are some very scary elements to it (when I was a kid, the scene with the bathtub would've traumatized me for life).

But more than a young adult book, I think this is really meant for adults who need to remember what it feels like to be a very small child. I'm in awe of how Mr. Gaiman can so easily tap into those elements that are so fundamental to childhood...things that most people, and most definitely I have forgotten. It all came flooding back reading this (much in the way that the main character's memories come back to him when he sits beside the "ocean"): the isolation, the "irrational" fears, the way your parents were the center of your universe and how terrifying it was to have anything threaten that balance (this was a common fear of mine as a child: that something scary would be happening and my parents would either not believe me or would become a part of whatever it was). But more than that, the really good things about being a kid are represented here: the simple pleasures of a delicious meal, a day spent in a special place with a good book, a cozy room with a flickering fireplace and a squooshy bed, the comfort of those certain adults and friends who can make you feel safe just by being there and telling all the scary things they have no power over them.

This is a wonderful story that will chill you and then warm you up again in the same page. The imagery is so real and easy to picture, I can't see how they could not make a movie out of this.... It taps into so many truths about the way things work, the way we overcome our most basic fears, and the way we remember the events of our lives.


nice cover

Well worth the wait

This was an amazing book. It had the dream-like quality that Gaiman's other books have, but through the eyes of a kid. It brought back memories of exploring around outside when I was younger.


It is a great book!

A Trip Between the World

This is a book about childhood, but not a children's book. You shouldn't need to say it isn't, but a fantasy story with a child as the main character tends to be taken as a children's books, even if it is woven out of childhood nightmares and has the kind of ending that no child would be content with. I'm content with it. I liked being taken back to a world where adult behavior is inexplicable and weird, and childish behavior makes perfect sense. Not my favorite Gaiman book, but worth reading.

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