Sussex is a county in England. To attend a funeral, a middle-aged man returns to his childhood home. Despite the fact that the house he grew up in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where he met Lettie Hempstock and her mother and grandmother when he was seven years old. H... e hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, but as he sits by the pond behind the ramshackle old farmhouse (a pond she'd claimed was an ocean), the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it's a past that's far too strange, frightening, and dangerous for anyone, let alone a young boy.
A man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road forty years ago. His death lit a touchpaper and reverberated in unimaginable ways, like a fuse on a firework. The darkness had broken loose, frightening and incomprehensible to a young boy. And Lettie, who was magical, comforting, and wise beyond her years, promised to always protect him.
The Ocean at the End of the Laneis a groundbreaking work from a master, told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and demonstrates the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It's a moving, terrifying, and elegiac tale as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as dangerous as a knife in the dark.
I had been here, hadn’t I, a long time ago? I was sure I had. Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.
So you used to know everything? She wrinkled her nose. Everybody did. I told you. It’s nothing special, knowing how things work. And you really do have to give it all up if you want to play. To play what? This, she said. She waved at the house and the sky and the impossible full moon and the skeins and shawls and clusters of bright stars.