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Sea of Tranquility
by Emily St. John Mandel
Gosh, I loved Sea of Tranquillity! It’s written in a dreamy, gentle almost melancholy way. It sort of lulls you or hypnotises you – I’m not quite sure how to put it – but its poignant and totally compelling. Please don’t be put off by the science fiction genre – it’s a book filled with real people who despite the four hundred year differences are going through the same emotions, the same thoughts, the same feelings. It feels believable, somehow.
There are four stories taking place over four time periods: 1912, present day, 2203 and 2401.
In 1912 a hapless, wealthy young Brit has a supernatural experience in a Canadian forest. In present day we meet up again with Vincent’s friend, Mirella, a character from Mandel’s last book, The Glass House. Two centuries later, a famous writer misses her family as she travels on a book tour all over Earth, far away from her home in the second moon colony. [Aside: I loved that there are still bookshops and book events in 200 years’ time!] And in 2401 Gaspery-Jacques Roberts is hired to investigate an anomaly in time which can only be solved through time travel.
Each story is terribly cleverly linked so that you put the book down at the end with a glorious sigh of satisfaction. If you enjoyed Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr, I think you’ll love this one.
Sea of Tranquility reminds us that humanity’s resting state is crisis. Someone’s world is always ending: that is the keynote of this book. And the echoes and callbacks that give it its shape reflect the ways we make our own lives meaningful. – The Guardian
In Sea of Tranquility,Mandel offers one of her finest novels and one of her most satisfying forays into the arena of speculative fiction yet, but it is her ability to convincingly inhabit the ordinary, and her ability to project a sustaining acknowledgment of beauty, that sets the novel apart.”- The New York Times
Exciting to read, relevant, and satisfying. – Kirkus
Brilliantly combining imagery from science fiction and the current pandemic, Mandel grounds her rich metaphysical speculation in small, beautifully observed human moments. By turns playful, tragic, and tender, this should not be missed.- Publishers Weekly