Fiction Literary

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Audiobook Review

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Audiobook Review by Neil Gaiman, Narrated by Neil Gaiman
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

Written by: Neil Gaiman

Narrated by: Neil Gaiman

Length: 5 hrs and 48 mins

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 06-18-13

Publisher: Harper Audio

I saw lots of people raving about how good The Ocean at the End of the Lane audiobook is and decided to check it out for myself. When a new book by Neil Gaiman comes out it’s always a big event. After all he’s notoriously good fantasy writer, has a huge fanbase and generally people expect an excellent book when they see his name on the cover. Everybody’s been wondering what Gaiman’s going to do next in the last few years. An American Gods TV series? A sequel to Odd and the Frost Giant? A prequel to his Sandman comic? To be honest, there was a little bit of skepticism in me about Gaiman doing something unoriginal, we’ve already seen. I didn’t want that. I needed something new and exciting.

I was pleasantly surprised too find that The Ocean at the End of the Lane doesn’t feel like his previous books, but is quite original and definitely is in my personal top list for most awesome audiobooks this year. It’s definitely a story that feels very personal, very tight and brief – like remembering something from your childhood as a grownup. It’s a book about those memories. They seem to be very real, after all we lived trough them. They’re like the ocean – we know they happened, we’ve swam in it, but the water changes its form and surface constantly. If you remember something it’s not an accurate representation of reality. And that’s wonderful.

This novel is also a comment on mortality, made by an unknown narrator who came to the UK for his fathers’ funeral. I got a very The Stranger (by Albert Camus) feel in the beginning. The fact that Neil narrates the audiobook himself makes it feel like an autobiography, even more so if you frequent his Twitter feed and blog. You’ll probably remember identical events like those in the story but they are going to be different. As a character says:

“That’s the trouble with living things. They don’t last very long. Kittens one day, old cats next. And then just memories. And the memories fade and blend and smudge together.”

We should think of memories as precious things, but maybe we shouldn’t rely on them. The important thing is what we do with those memories. By telling this story, Gaiman masterfully creates a whole new mythology. Ocean at the End of the Lane audiobook reminds grownups that just because we’re adults, it’s not over yet and life is full of wonders, beauty and mysteries we can experience.

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One reply on “The Ocean at the End of the Lane Audiobook Review”

I agree Neil does make the story feel very autobiographical. He manages to make the character’s memories seem so real and personal. Maybe it’s because he’s narrating the audiobook as well. It’s a great little story and captures one’s memories of childhood perfectly.

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