2013 "First Edition" stated; Harper Collins Publishers, New York; smaller hardbound in black and ivory boards with blue foil lettering along spine; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket very good.
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.
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.
The book starts with the unnamed protagonist returning to his childhood hometown for a funeral. There he revisits the home in which he and his sister grew up and remembers a young girl named Lettie Hempstock, who had claimed that the pond behind her house was an ocean. He stops at the house where Lettie had lived with her mother and grandmother and encounters a member of her family and starts to remember forgotten incidents from the past.
The main narrative starts as he recalls a time when an opal miner, who was living at the boy's home, steals the narrator's father's car and commits suicide in the back seat, having gambled away his friends' money; this death allows a supernatural being to gain access to the narrator's world, leaving money for people in unpleasant ways.
After a coin becomes lodged in the narrator's throat overnight, choking him, he seeks his neighbour Lettie's help. She agrees to help, insisting that he accompany her on the travel necessary to find the spirit and bind it. Having been instructed never to let go of her hand, in a moment of surprise he does, and in that instant something lodges in his foot. Once home, he pulls what appears to be a worm out of his foot, but a piece is left inside him.
The next day, his mother tells him she is starting a new job and a woman named Ursula Monkton is to look after him and his sister. The narrator takes an instant dislike to her and soon realises that she is actually the worm he had pulled out of his foot. She had used him as a way to travel out of the place he and Lettie had visited and is now inhabiting his house. Ursula quickly ingratiates herself with his family, winning over his sister and seducing his father, while the narrator is alienated from his family and is almost drowned in the bath by his father as Ursula watches.
Most of the narrator's time is then spent locked up in his bedroom, avoiding Ursula. Frightened, he manages to escape one night...