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ocean laneTitle: The Ocean at The End of The Lane

Writer: Neil Gaiman

Publisher: Headline Publishing Group (2013)

Pages: 248p

Bought at: Kinokuniya Ngee Ann City (SGD 25.68)

The narrator of this story (whose name had never been mentioned in this book) was looking back to 40 years ago, when something bad happened during his childhood. A man from South Africa, who lodged in their family’s house, killed himself in their car, parked near a farmhouse at the end of the lane.

This suicide stirred up ancient powers, very bad creatures, that best left undisturbed. The narrator had to defend himself, especially when he was accidentally bringing one evil creature into his world. He had to fight as hard as he could if he didn’t want the creature to finish him and use him as the door between two worlds.

The only people who can help him was three women who lived in the farmhouse at the end of the lane. The oldest women, Mrs. Hempstock, was really old, she even remembered when the world was created. Her daughter, Ginny Hempstock was a wonderful cook who liked to feed our narrator very delicious food. And Ginny’s daughter, Lettie Hempstock who was 11 years old, was the bravest girl the narrator’s ever known. Those three women claimed that the pond in their yard was actually an ocean. And that it could help them, even though there was a big sacrifice that must be given.

Neil Gaiman.

One of the greatest writers in our time. I can imagine 60 years from now his books became classics and talk of the world, just like what CS Lewis had done with his Narnia, or Tolkien with his Lord of The Rings. From children books to high fantasy to fable for adults, Neil Gaiman is like a magician who can turn everything he wrote into golden charm.

I admit that I don’t always like everything he wrote, sometimes they were too absurd, too pretentious and too hard to be grasped. But this one, this one actually fulfilled my expectation. A fable for adults wrapped in a fairy tale kind of story, with evil creatures, gory scenes and tense moments.

First I thought this book was kinda like a children book. But when the evil took form as a beautiful woman who could seduce everyone including the narrator’s dad, wow. It made this book seemed more than just an ordinary fairy tale. Many scenes in this book referred to the bad side of being an adult, even the evil itself came into the world as an adult woman, who wanted to “give what humans want”, including money, desire to have something better even though they already had good things in their life.

It did not matter, at that moment, that she was every monster, every witch, every nightmare made flesh. She was also an adult, and when adults fight children, adults always win. (p116)

Grown ups don’t look like grown ups on the inside. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they just look like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown ups. Not one, in the whole wide world. (p152)

Neil can mix a beautiful storyline, mesmerizing characters, horror scenes, and dark atmosphere in a packed book that will make you think and think about the loose creatures from beyond our world. About the horror stories that maybe not pure fantasies at all. About losing your childhood and facing the unavoidable adulthood. And about believing in everything, including the most improbable things.

Prepare to have all your nightmares from childhood came alive in this book!


-This book cover reminds me of the old Nirvana album called Nevermind.


-Neil wrote this book for his wife, Amanda Palmer, when they were far away from each other and he missed her so much. How romantic.

-Please do read the acknowledgment part, it’s written as beautifully as the story itself 🙂