Thursday, July 27, 2023

Review | Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Source: borrowed from my library. This is a review of my reading experience.


A novel of art, time travel, love, and plague that takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon five hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space.

Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal--an experience that shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She's traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive's best-selling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

A virtuoso performance that is as human and tender as it is intellectually playful, Sea of Tranquility is a novel of time travel and metaphysics that precisely captures the reality of our current moment.'

The best thing about book club is we are reading books we otherwise wouldn't have. Even though I enjoyed Station Eleven, I haven't been making time to pick up Emily St. John Mandel's other books.

I wish I had known The Glass House and Sea of Tranquility were connected. I would have read The Glass House first. I don't think it affected my enjoyment, though. I enjoyed reading Sea of Tranquility!

There was a section in Sea of Tranquility that triggered the covid lockdown memories - be aware. It really brought me back to those early days.

Sea of Tranquility is a time travel/time trippy type of story. It's well crafted and even a bit mindblowing. I have very low mental capacity right now but I was able to follow and understand (mostly!)

Emily St. John Mandel is a wonderful writer and one I hope to keep making time to read.

4/5 stars


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  1. I am intrigued by books that span such a great number of years. Glad to hear you were able to follow (LOL) and enjoyed the book.

  2. I have yet to read anything by this author; I should really try her someday. Her books do sound good.

  3. This is probably my favorite of the three books. Definitely go back and read The Glass Hotel now!

  4. I don't want to think about anything Covid related for a very long time.

  5. Thanks for the heads up about the Glass Hotel. I've had Sea of Tranquility on hold for several weeks, but I canceled that, for now, and will read the other book first.


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