It tells the story of a man who returns to Sussex for a funeral and then finds himself driving "randomly" to the scenes of his childhood. He is drawn to the Hempstock farmhouse wherein, he remembers, there lived three generations of powerful ...
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a 2013 novel by British author Neil Gaiman. The work was first published on 18 June 2013 through William Morrow and Company and follows an unnamed man who returns to his hometown for a funeral and remembers events that began forty years earlier
Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaima born Neil Richard Gaiman, 10 November 1960 is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, nonfiction, audio theatre, and films. His works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book (2008). In 2013, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards.
From 1991 to 1993, Gaiman won Harvey Awards in the following categories:
1991 Best Writer for The Sandman
1992 Best Writer for The Sandman
1993 Best Continuing or Limited Series for The Sandman
From 1991 to 2014, Gaiman won Locus Awards in the following categories:
1991 Best Fantasy Novel (runner-up) for Good Omens by Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
1999 Best Fantasy Novel (runner-up) for Stardust
2002 Best Fantasy Novel for American Gods
2003 Best Young Adult Book for Coraline
2004 Best Novelette for "A Study in Emerald"
2005 Best Short Story for "Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire"
2006 Best Fantasy novel for Anansi Boys. The book was also nominated for a Hugo Award, but Gaiman asked for it to be withdrawn from the list, stating that he wanted to give other writers a chance and that it was really more fantasy than science fiction.
2006 Best Short Story for "Sunbird"
2007 Best Short Story for "How to Talk to Girls at Parties"
2007 Best Collection for Fragile Things
2009 Best Young Adult novel for The Graveyard Book
2010 Best Short Story for An Invocation of Incuriosity, published in Songs of the Dying Earth
2011 Best Short Story for The Thing About Cassandra, published in Songs of Love and Death
2011 Best Novelette for The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains, published in Stories
2014 Best Fantasy Novel for The Ocean at the End of the Lane
From 1991 to 2009, Gaiman won Eisner Awards in the following categories:
1991 Best Continuing Series: Sandman, by Neil Gaiman and various artists (DC)
1991 Best Graphic Album–Reprint: Sandman: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman and various artists (DC)
1991 Best Writer: Neil Gaiman, Sandman (DC)
1992 Best Single Issue or Story: Sandman #22-#28: "Season of Mists," by Neil Gaiman and various artists (DC)
1992 Best Continuing Series: Sandman, by Neil Gaiman and various artists (DC)
1992 Best Writer: Neil Gaiman, Sandman, Books of Magic (DC), Miracleman (Eclipse)
1993 Best Continuing Series: Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists (DC)
1993 Best Graphic Album–New: Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean (VG Graphics/Dark Horse)
1993 Best Writer: Neil Gaiman, Miracleman (Eclipse); Sandman (DC)
1994 Best Writer: Neil Gaiman, Sandman (DC/Vertigo); Death: The High Cost of Living (DC/Vertigo)
2000 Best Comics-Related Book: The Sandman: The Dream Hunters, by Neil Gaiman and Yoshitaka Amano (DC/Vertigo)
2004 Best Short Story: "Death," by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell, in The Sandman: Endless Nights (Vertigo/DC)
2004 Best Anthology: The Sandman: Endless Nights, by Neil Gaiman and others, edited by Karen Berger and Shelly Bond (Vertigo/DC)
2007 Best Archival Collection/Project–Comic Books: Absolute Sandman, vol. 1, by Neil Gaiman and various (Vertigo/DC)
2009 Best Publication for Teens/Tweens: Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, adapted by P. Craig Russell (HarperCollins Children's Books)
In 1991, Gaiman received an Inkpot Award at the San Diego Comic-Con International
From 2000 to 2004, Gaiman won Bram Stoker Awards in the following categories:
2000 Best Illustrated Narrative for The Sandman: The Dream Hunters
2001 Best Novel for American Gods
2003 Best Work for Young Readers for Coraline
2004 Best Illustrated Narrative for The Sandman: Endless Nights
From 2002 to 2016, Gaiman won Hugo Awards in the following categories:
2002 Best Novel for American Gods
2003 Best Novella for Coraline
2004 Best Short Story for A Study in Emerald (in a ceremony the author presided over himself, having volunteered for the job before his story was nominated)
2009 Best Novel for The Graveyard Book presented at the 2009 Worldcon in Montreal where he was also the Professional Guest of Honor.
2012 Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) for "The Doctor's Wife"
2016 Best Graphic Story for The Sandman: Overture
From 2002 to 2003, Gaiman won Nebula Awards in the following categories:
2002 Best Novel for American Gods
2003 Best Novella for Coraline
From 2006 to 2010, Gaiman won British Fantasy Awards in the following categories:
2006 Best Novel for Anansi Boys
2007 British Fantasy Award, collection, for Fragile Things
2009 British Fantasy Award for Best Novel shortlist for The Graveyard Book
2010 British Fantasy Award, comic/graphic novel, Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?, by Gaiman and Andy Kubert
In 2010, Gaiman won Shirley Jackson Awards in the following categories:
2010 Best Novelette for "The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains"
2010 Best Edited Anthology for Stories: All New Tales, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio (William Morrow)
1991 World Fantasy Award for short fiction for the Sandman issue, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", by Gaiman and Charles Vess
1991–1993 Comics Buyer's Guide Award for Favorite Writer
1997–2000 Comics Buyer's Guide Award for Favorite Writer nominations
1997 Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Defender of Liberty award
1999 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature for the illustrated version of Stardust
2003 British Science Fiction Association Award, short fiction, for Coraline
2004 Angoulême International Comics Festival Prize for Scenario for The Sandman: Season of Mists
2005 The William Shatner Golden Groundhog Award for Best Underground Movie, nomination for MirrorMask The other nominated films were Green Street Hooligans, Nine Lives, Up for Grabs and Opie Gets Laid.
2005 Quill Book Award for Graphic Novels for Marvel 1602
2006 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature for Anansi Boys
2007 Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award
2007 Comic-Con Icon award presented at the Scream Awards.
2009 Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book
2009 Audie Award: Children's 8–12 and Audiobook of the year for the audio version of The Graveyard Book.
2009 The Booktrust Teenage Prize for The Graveyard Book
2010 Gaiman was selected as the Honorary Chair of National Library Week by the American Library Association.
2010 Carnegie Medal for The Graveyard Book, becoming the first author to have won both the Carnegie and Newbery Medals for the same work.
2011 Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation (with Richard Clark) for The Doctor's Wife
2012 Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of the Arts
2013 National Book Awards (British), Book of the Year winner for The Ocean at the End of the Lane
2016 University of St Andrews Honorary degree of Doctor of Letters
2018 Nomination for the New Academy Prize in Literature.
2019 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, "celebrat[ing] authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community." Gaiman was given the award "for advocating for freedom of expression worldwide and inspiring countless writers."
Themes in The Ocean at the End of the Lane include the search for self-identity and the "disconnect between childhood and adulthood".
Among other honours, it was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards.
Awards and honours
2013 The New York Times Best Seller list, #1 Hardcover Fiction.
2013 National Book Awards (British), Book of the Year
2013 Kirkus Reviews, The Best Books of 2013 (100 titles)
2013 Nebula Award for Best Novel, Nominee
2013 Goodreads Choice Awards, Fantasy
2014 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel
2014 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, Nominee
Main article: The Ocean at the End of the Lane (play)
In June 2019, the National Theatre, London, announced they were producing an adaptation of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, written by Joel Horwood and directed by Katy Rudd. According to Gaiman, he was approached by Rudd and Horwood with the idea of adapting the book for the stage in 2016. Music in the play is by Jherek Bischoff, who also worked with Gaiman's wife Amanda Palmer. The play's opening night was on 11 December 2019 at the Dorfman Theatre, with preview performances beginning 3 December 2019.
In February 2013, ahead of the novel's publication, Focus Features acquired the rights to adapt it into a feature film. Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman were announced to be producing through their company Playtone, and Joe Wright was attached to direct.The film has not had further development updates as of June 2019.
On the cover of Neil Gaiman's extraordinary tale, Coraline, is a quotation from Terry Pratchett, saying that the story has "the delicate horror of the finest fairytales". Gaiman is a master of fear, and he understands the nature of fairytales, the relation between the writer, the reader and the character in the tale. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, like Coraline and like The Graveyard Book, has a young central character – a resourceful and determined child – who finds his world transfigured by terror and strangeness. Coraline goes through a door into a house in every way replicating her own, inhabited by a copy of her mother with black button eyes. Bod (full name Nobody Owens) is brought up by ghosts in a graveyard after the murder of his parents and sister. The narrator of The Ocean at the End of the Lane starts his story with that feared disaster of childhood, the seventh birthday party to which no one came.
His parents have a lodger, an opal miner, who accidentally kills a kitten, and subsequently kills himself in the family car. This event, still in the everyday world, is the beginning of a terrifying shift in the nature of things. One of the terrors of childhood is the realisation that parents are not necessarily strong or understanding. One of the pleasures of my own childhood reading was the resourcefulness of children left to fend for themselves – and the knowledge that the shape of the story meant that they would do so.
There are three women living in a house at the end of a lane – Old Mrs Hempstock, Ginnie Hempstock, and Lettie, who owns an ocean which appears to be a duckpond, "dark water spotted with duckweed and lily pads". A dead fish, which turns out to have swallowed a Victorian sixpence, leads to an encounter with something alien, powerful, dangerous, though not entirely malign. It manages to get into the boy's house, where only he knows that it is not what it seems and that it means to take over.
The boy moves into a world of primeval danger, helped, when he can escape to them, by the Hempstock women, who are also not what they seem. His family's complete unawareness of any threat is part of the terror. Gaiman has an epigraph from Maurice Sendak: "I remember my own childhood vividly … I knew terrible things. But I knew I mustn't let adults know I knew. It would scare them."
Towards the end of this tale the storyteller enters the pond which is an ocean and has an odd experience of space and time – trying to get one's mind around scientific images of space and time, light and black holes, the Big Bang and its consequences is enough to shake our sense that "everyday reality" is particularly real – and says, "I saw the world I had walked since my birth, and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality I knew was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger."
I was somewhat surprised to see that The Ocean at the End of the Lane has been discussed as a book for adults which children can also read. When I thought about it, I realised that I am an adult reading self, and also a child reader, and that it was my childhood self who settled into this story. I am an adult who reads "children's" books avidly – as long as they have no designs on me, do not manoeuvre me or preach.
Gaiman's long novel American Gods is a wild fantasy for adults who remember being child readers. The Ocean at the End of the Lane arouses, and satisfies, the expectations of the skilled reader of fairytales, and stories which draw on fairytales. Fairytales, of course, were not invented for children, and deal ferociously with the grim and the bad and the dangerous. But they promise a kind of resolution, and Gaiman keeps this promise.
There is a peculiar pleasure about reading as an adult what gripped the child's imagination. I wonder now what I imagined about the world of The Three Musketeers, or Walter Scott's medieval tales, or The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I inhabited passionately at the age of the seven-year-old in this story. I'm not even sure that I then knew France wasn't England. The narrator of The Ocean at the End of the Lane is an adult, now placed outside the fierce world of the drama of the book. The child I was would have seen him as wispy, grey, diminished. He stands in Wordsworth's "light of common day", and sometimes revisits and remembers the ocean. I can see the world from his point of view now. But it isn't more "real" than the bright terror and danger of his childhood.
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