Book of the Week: The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman. Really, what more do I have to say?

This is his first adult novel since 2005’s bestselling Anansi Boys and we’re looking at one of the biggest books of the summer. The anticipation for this one is evident in the ticket sales for his book tour. In my territory, host stores are reporting venues of 1000-2000 seats close to sold out a month before the tour starts. It’s no surprise that this is also a #1 Indie Next Pick.

(As an aside, Gaiman says this will be his last book signing tour. For a complete list of tour stops and links to the stores, check this listing on Neil’s blog.)

So what about the read? I’ve counted three starred reviews so far. And booksellers who had a chance to read the special numbered advance copies have been blown away. Check it out the feedback below. And at the very bottom—a taste of the book from Neil himself.

“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.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Gaiman mines mythological typology–the three-fold goddess, the water of life (the pond, actually an ocean)–and his own childhood milieu to build the cosmology and theater of a story he tells more gracefully than any he’s told since Stardust.”
— Booklist (starred review)

“[A] subtle and splendid modern myth … Gaiman 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.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Neil Gaiman is a magnificent storyteller; he creates scenes so complete that you aren’t conscious of reading. Instead you inhabit a universe that’s thoroughly believable, yet truly otherworldly.  It is as though the book is happening to you instead of being read.  Afterward you may go back and note the wealth of perfect detail, the subtlety of his craftsmanship, but when you first turn the pages, you are simply immersed….The story’s terror – the claustrophobia and vulnerability of childhood, the way a child’s wants, needs and fears go unnoticed by adults, and the horrors that can result – is perfectly balanced against the consolation of books, the magic of the natural world, and the power of those who do listen, understand, and take action to set the universe to rights, at whatever cost to themselves. Painful and wonderful, gorgeous and horrifying, truly fantastic, a book to return to again and again. Essential. Classic.”
— Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

“I finished Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane in one sitting.  To have read such mythic genius was the easier part of the experience. To give you feedback, well, that’s the difficult part … Neil Gaiman dances with the mythic, and sings the tune that accompanies this ancient dance. He remembers the songs of life we have so often abandoned. His voice is in perfect pitch, and he knows its words in his marrow.  He is a Magician…Anansi’s gifted child.”
–Karen Tallant, Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (9780062255655) by Neil Gaiman. $25.99 hardcover. 6/18/13 one day laydown.

4 thoughts on “Book of the Week: The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

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