From New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling writer Neil Gaiman, comes a novel of memory, magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us.
Neil Gaiman has spent his adult life making things up and writing them down. He lives more in America than he does anywhere else. He has written books and films and children's books and television. He has a blog over at www.neilgaiman.com. He's won more than his fair share of literary awards, was voted twenty-first equal on a recent poll of Great British Authors, and has no idea where he put his keys.
"Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later... but they are never lost for good"-and the most grim of those memories, no matter how faint, can haunt one forever, as they do the anonymous narrator of Gaiman's subtle and splendid modern myth. The protagonist, an artist, returns to his childhood home in the English countryside to recover his memory of events that nearly destroyed him and his family when he was seven. The suicide of a stranger opened the way for a deadly spirit who disguised herself as a housekeeper, won over the boy's sister and mother, seduced his father, and threatened the boy if he told anyone the truth. He had allies-a warm and welcoming family of witches at the old farm up the road-but defeating this evil demanded a sacrifice he was not prepared for. Gaiman (Anansi Boys) has crafted a fresh story of magic, humanity, loyalty, and memories "waiting at the edges of things," where lost innocence can still be restored as long as someone is willing to bear the cost. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gaiman here departs somewhat from his previous books, instead featuring greater emphasis on investigation of the human condition and a more subdued fantasy element. The main character revisits his boyhood, particularly a series of formative events surrounding his friendship with a girl named Lettie Hempstock. The plot rapidly evolves from reminiscent to scary to downright life-threatening, with profound reflections on mortality inherent in the drama. In this ominous environment, seeming evil is explained as a misplaced desire to please, and the ocean at the end of the lane is a liquid knowledge bath transcending space and time that helps rescue the boy. In fact, Lettie is one of the keepers of the ocean, and she and her family represent caretakers who manage the equilibrium of our world and protect the hapless. As we learn the full extent of our narrator's relationship with the Hempstocks, the absolute necessity of the act of forgetting becomes clear. VERDICT Scott Smith's The Ruins meets Astrid Lingren's Pippi Longstocking. A slim and magical feat of meaningful storytelling genius. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/12.]-Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gaiman's achievement is to make the fantasy world seem true * The
A book that reads like a half-remembered fairy tale from childhood... and slots perfectly into the canon of British magical fiction * New Statesman *
The writer who comes closest to the being the Dahl of his generation... The Ocean at the End of the Lane has, like all good myths, a power that defies explanation * Sunday Express *
Within a few pages you know you're reading a future classic * Stylist *