Synopsis from Penguin Random House:
NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • The award-winning, best-selling author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel returns with a novel of art, time, 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.
About: Sea of Tranquillity is a science fiction fantasy written by Emily St. John Mandel. It was recently published on 4/5/2022 by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Penguin Random House, hardcover, 272 pages. The genres are historical fiction, science fiction fantasy, literary fiction, and time travel. According to the publisher’s website, “Alfred A. Knopf was founded in 1915 and has long been known as a publisher of distinguished hardcover fiction and nonfiction.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Sea of Tranquility on 6/4/2022 and finished it on 6/8/2022. A unique read. I enjoyed reading about Edwin. It’s unimaginable to be 18 and going off overseas to the unknown. I liked how smart Edwin’s character was when he decided not to overshare his thoughts at the church. I’m curious about Edwin’s next step before the story switched over to Mirella. Mirella’s life was a good read. She married a man first and later switched to dating a woman. I wanted to read more about her but yet again I’m introduced to a new character. It was interesting to see how a writer’s book tour was like when reading about Olive. Olive’s living situation was futuristic and I’m glad to see that she can be clever to correct someone when that person made a comment about how Olive’s husband was kind to take care of her daughter so that she could be off traveling around but Olive reminded that person that her husband was actually taking care of his daughter. I often forget when I ask my husband to help me watch our daughter because technically he shouldn’t be considered helping me when the responsibilities are equally his. The characters all connected later when readers get the view of the man they all eventually encountered.
This book started in 1912, with Edwin, 18 and youngest son as he left home in England to make a future for himself. His father will be an earl but his oldest brother Gilbert will inherit the family estate. The middle brother Niall was already in Australia. Edwin slowly made his way west then north following friends, Reginald then Thomas. He decided to stay north for awhile thinking what to do next. There Edwin encountered an unexplainable situation in the forest. The next portion in the story was taken place in year 2020 following Mirella. She had a falling out with Vincent through investment Ponzi schemes that Vincent’s husband did. She wondered if Vincent actually didn’t know and wanted to look her up. She looked her up through Vincent’s brother Paul and found that Vincent was dead. Before her death, she gave Paul a video of her walking on the same forest path to the maple tree as Edwin. The next portion of the story took place in year 2203 following Olive and her book tour on pandemic. Olive lived on the moon colony. At the end of her book tour, Olive met with the same man as Edwin and Mirella. The next portion of the story took place in year 2401 following Gaspery. His sister Zoey worked at a company that specialized in time travel. Gaspery wanted to work in time travel. There’s an anomaly and he was hired to investigate.
Sea of Tranquillity was well written and a fast paced read. Olive’s story was a bit tiring mainly because she traveled alone and talked about her book and her experiences with different hotels. Her story later on was no better because she attended those boring virtual meetings to talk about her best seller. Gaspery’s view, on the other hand, was fascinating and probably my favorite of all. The ending took me by surprise. Definitely uncalled for and it was excellent. I liked Gaspery’s sister Zoey. She had good intentions. The time traveling was interesting as well as the futuristic way of life. Little to no romance except that there were mentions of love between same genders for different supporting characters. Since it’s time traveling, pandemic was mentioned in this story too. This book is my first read from the author and it won’t be my last. I do recommend everyone to read this book!
I rate it 4.5 stars!
About the Author:
EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL’s five previous novels include The Glass Hotel and Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, has been translated into thirty-five languages, and is the basis for the HBO Max series by the same name. She lives in New York City. emilymandel.com (Photo and info obtained from Penguin’s website).
More Information about Alfred A. Knopf
***Many thanks to Knopf Doubleday for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.