The Ocean at the End of the Lane cover art. Image via William Morrow and Company
11. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Book: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The Story: Neil Gaiman’s 2013 novel is a story about a man coming back to his childhood home for the first time in years and confronting his memories about his past.
That’s the straightforward explanation. It is Gaiman, and it is a fantasy novel. There’s a pond that’s secretly an ocean, a worm that grows into a malevolent person and scavenger birds that eat your heart. It’s a dark and twisted but totally enrapturing story.
The Adaptation: Everything Neil Gaiman does gets adapted eventually. There’s movies for Coraline and Stardust, and an upcoming TV show for American Gods. In 2013, they wanted to adapt this into a film with Tom Hanks and director Joe Wright, but plans have been stalled.
Personally, I think The Ocean at the End of the Lane‘s creepy town and familial drama would make a good show or mini-series. A&E’s Bates Motel could serve as a (less fantasy-based) inspiration for the show. The kind of creepy, foreboding but can’t-look-away performance Vera Farmiga gives as Norma Bates should be the blueprint for an actress stealing the show as Ursula.