The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gailman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane II

I was hesitating to download this audio book because I read Neverwhere years ago for a book club read and it was too disturbing and dark for my taste to finish. Having said that, in no way am I saying Gailman is not a good writer. He is s superb story teller and his imagination is really something else.

Have you ever heard Him speak? I can listen to Him talk all day long. Anyhow, I came across The Ocean At The End of The Lane last night and decided to take a chance. Wow, am I glad I did! I was literally drawn in from the first few lines. That really says a lot about the story. At first, I was thinking maybe because it was His voice that is so mesmerizing…. but I think it’s everything about the story, the characters and the way He is weaving the tale. This is one story I am going to be sad when I get to the end of it.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

About the book:

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gailman

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

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A glance at a Southern Story: One Good Mama Bone by Bren McClain

Back in November of 2017 I posted about a book event I went to, and southern authors and their stories were featured. This gave me an idea to start a series on southern writers and how important their stories are and what makes them unique. Today I am featuring a unique southern story One Good Mama Bone by Bren McClain.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

ONE GOOD MAMA BONEBook Description:

Set in early 1950s rural South Carolina, One Good Mama Bone chronicles Sarah Creamer’s quest to find her “mama bone,” after she is left to care for a boy who is not her own but instead is the product of an affair between her husband and her best friend and neighbor, a woman she calls “Sister.” When her husband drinks himself to death, Sarah, a dirt-poor homemaker with no family to rely on and the note on the farm long past due, must find a way for her and young Emerson Bridge to survive. But the more daunting obstacle is Sarah’s fear that her mother’s words, seared in her memory since she first heard them at the age of six, were a prophesy, “You ain’t got you one good mama bone in you, girl.”

When Sarah reads in the local newspaper that a boy won $680 with his Grand Champion steer at the recent 1951 Fat Cattle Show & Sale, she sees this as their financial salvation and finds a way to get Emerson Bridge a steer from a local farmer to compete in the 1952 show. But the young calf is unsettled at Sarah’s farm, crying out in distress and growing louder as the night wears on. Some four miles away, the steer’s mother hears his cries and breaks out of a barbed-wire fence to go in search of him. The next morning Sarah finds the young steer quiet, content, and nursing a large cow. Inspired by the mother cow’s act of love, Sarah names her Mama Red. And so Sarah’s education in motherhood begins with Mama Red as her teacher.

But Luther Dobbins, the man who sold Sarah the steer, has his sights set on winning too, and, like Sarah, he is desperate, but not for money. Dobbins is desperate for glory, wanting to regain his lost grand-champion dynasty, and he will stop at nothing to win. Emboldened by her lessons from Mama Red and her budding mama bone, Sarah is committed to victory even after she learns the winning steer’s ultimate fate. Will she stop at nothing, even if it means betraying her teacher?

McClain’s writing is distinguished by a sophisticated and detailed portrayal of the day-to-day realities of rural poverty and an authentic sense of time and place that marks the best southern fiction. Her characters transcend their archetypes and her animal-as-teacher theme recalls the likes of Water for Elephants and The Art of Racing in the Rain. One Good Mama Bone explores the strengths and limitations of parental love, the healing power of the human-animal bond, and the ethical dilemmas of raising animals for food.

Recording by Bren of One Good Mama Bone, first chapter

Author Bio:

Brenda

Bren McClain’s literary novel, ONE GOOD MAMA BONE, debuted in February with Pat Conroy’s original fiction imprint, Story River Books. The novel has been named a Great Group Reads 2017 Selection by the Women’s National Book Association, named the top pick for 2017 by Lit Picks, long-listed for the 2018 Crook’s Corner Book Prize, received a starred review in “Booklist,” named a 2017 winter Okra pick by the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Alliance and made a Pulpwood Queens worldwide book club selection. Bren is at work on her next novel, TOOK, which received the gold medal for the 2016 William Faulkner –William Wisdom Novel-in-Progress. Bren was born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina, on a beef cattle and grain farm and now makes her home on 100 acres outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Find her online at her  Website .