Sea of Tranquility A novel

Emily St. John Mandel, 1979-

Large print - 2022

"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 an island off Vancouver in 1912 to a dark colony of the moon three hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and planets"--

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LARGE PRINT/FICTION/Mandel, Emily St. John
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Subjects
Genres
Epic fiction
Science fiction
Novels
Published
New York : Random House Large Print [2022]
Edition
First large print edition
Language
English
Physical Description
269 pages (large print) ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780593556597
0593556593
Main Author
Emily St. John Mandel, 1979- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In 1912, Edwin, the third son of a wealthy British family who is sent into exile for his progressive views, has a transcendent experience in the remote Canadian woods when he is momentarily transported to a futuristic airship terminal and hears a violinist playing. Nearly a hundred years later, Vincent Smith (the heroine in Mandel's previous novel, The Glass Hotel, 2020) has a similar experience as a teen. And several centuries into the future, a resident of a colony on the moon named Gaspery Roberts is sent back through time to investigate these incidents, and discover how and why they happened. Connecting characters across the centuries—including several others from The Glass Hotel, plus a writer, who, not unlike Mandel herself, has written an eerily prescient hit novel about a fictional pandemic just before the onset of a real one—Mandel spins a gripping and beautiful narrative that speaks to how we are all interconnected in great and small ways. With more than a few discoveries related to her previous novels, this will be a delight for longtime Mandel readers; but those new to her work won't find themselves lost by any means, except in the sense that all readers will be subsumed by this gorgeously rendered, deeply intimate, conceptually rich, and affecting tale. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Mandel continues to reign as a cutting-edge, best-selling novelist, and the themes of this deeply involving tale promise even more attention and acclaim. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In 1912, Edwin, the third son of a wealthy British family who is sent into exile for his progressive views, has a transcendent experience in the remote Canadian woods when he is momentarily transported to a futuristic airship terminal and hears a violinist playing. Nearly a hundred years later, Vincent Smith (the heroine in Mandel's previous novel, The Glass Hotel, 2020) has a similar experience as a teen. And several centuries into the future, a resident of a colony on the moon named Gaspery Roberts is sent back through time to investigate these incidents, and discover how and why they happened. Connecting characters across the centuries—including several others from The Glass Hotel, plus a writer, who, not unlike Mandel herself, has written an eerily prescient hit novel about a fictional pandemic just before the onset of a real one—Mandel spins a gripping and beautiful narrative that speaks to how we are all interconnected in great and small ways. With more than a few discoveries related to her previous novels, this will be a delight for longtime Mandel readers; but those new to her work won't find themselves lost by any means, except in the sense that all readers will be subsumed by this gorgeously rendered, deeply intimate, conceptually rich, and affecting tale. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Mandel continues to reign as a cutting-edge, best-selling novelist, and the themes of this deeply involving tale promise even more attention and acclaim. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

After breaking out with the National Book Award finalist Station Eleven and following up with the multi-best-booked The Glass Hotel, Mandel returns with another fantastical work that links stories over the centuries as it contemplates the passage of time (and its disruption), the value of art (with music and literature figuring here), and the endless mystery of life (with mystery and speculative tropes both contributing to the narrative). Tossed out of polite society after all too boldly revealing outré opinions at a dinner party, young son-of-an-earl Edwin St. Andrew crosses the ocean by steamship in the early 1900s and lands in the stunning Canadian wilderness, where he hears the notes of a violin in (surprisingly) an airship terminal. Two centuries later, a violinist playing in a forest-shadowed air terminal appears in a best-selling pandemic novel written by famed author Olive Llewellyn, who's on a book tour of Earth though her home is the second moon colony. Finally, Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the Night City, is tasked with investigating strange events—an aristocrat gone mad, an author trapped on Earth by pandemic—even as he and a childhood friend recognize that they might be able to rearrange the timeline of the universe. Sounds stunning to me, and with both Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel having sold 1.2 million copies so far and heading to the silver screen, you can bet this title will be big. Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The latest in Mandel's evolving uber novel opus once again builds an utterly singular world while remaining tethered to her previous works (characters from The Glass Hotel are instrumental here). The author's most distinctly genre-inflected work yet, it boasts a laundry list of sf elements; time travel, lunar colonies, and simulation theory are corded to the more grounded influences of music, the natural world, family, and, yes, pandemics (though smartly more abstracted here). Initially taking on an unsettled shape of a mystery replete with myriad narrative ellipses, the narrative eventually slows its pace to fill in its early narrative shading, settling into the perspective of Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a sort-of layabout who finds himself investigating an "anomaly" that manifests across several centuries and lives. What results is a decidedly lighter and looser work for Mandel, recalling some of the paradox-themed playfulness of Sean Ferrell's Man in the Empty Suit or Charles Yu's How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, without leaning full-bore into any quantum specificity. But while its littered enigmas and savvy narrative structure make for effortless reading, both the worldbuilding and Roberts are given short shrift. VERDICT A distinctly slight work from Mandel, one that is very much enjoyable on its own terms and nails its tonal progression but has too soft a center to hold up to much scrutiny.—Luke Gorham Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The latest in Mandel's evolving uber novel opus once again builds an utterly singular world while remaining tethered to her previous works (characters from The Glass Hotel are instrumental here). The author's most distinctly genre-inflected work yet, it boasts a laundry list of sf elements; time travel, lunar colonies, and simulation theory are corded to the more grounded influences of music, the natural world, family, and, yes, pandemics (though smartly more abstracted here). Initially taking on an unsettled shape of a mystery replete with myriad narrative ellipses, the narrative eventually slows its pace to fill in its early narrative shading, settling into the perspective of Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a sort-of layabout who finds himself investigating an "anomaly" that manifests across several centuries and lives. What results is a decidedly lighter and looser work for Mandel, recalling some of the paradox-themed playfulness of Sean Ferrell's Man in the Empty Suit or Charles Yu's How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, without leaning full-bore into any quantum specificity. But while its littered enigmas and savvy narrative structure make for effortless reading, both the worldbuilding and Roberts are given short shrift. VERDICT A distinctly slight work from Mandel, one that is very much enjoyable on its own terms and nails its tonal progression but has too soft a center to hold up to much scrutiny.—Luke Gorham Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In Mandel's stunning latest, people find themselves inhabiting different places and times, from early 20th-century Canada to a 23rd-century moon colony. Edwin St. Andrew's wealthy British family banishes him to Canada after his unpatriotic opinions disrupt a dinner party. Walking in the dense forest near tiny Caiette, B.C., in 1912, he suddenly hears haunting violin music and a human bustle. In 2020 Brooklyn, avant-garde composer Paul James Smith shapes a composition around a fragmentary video shot by his late half sister Vincent (both characters appeared in Mandel's The Glass Hotel). Its footage of the forest outside Caiette, where Vincent was raised, is abruptly interrupted by a black screen and a collage of sounds including violin notes, a "dim cacophony" reminiscent of a train station, and "a strange kind of whoosh." Author Olive Llewellyn leaves her home on the moon's second colony in 2203 to promote her bestselling "pandemic novel" on Earth. As a new virus spreads through Australia, she fields questions about a scene in the book, based on personal experience, in which a character listening to violin music in an Oklahoma City airship terminal feels briefly transported to a forest. In 2401, the secretive, powerful Time Institute is concerned by the glitch that Edwin, Vincent, and Olive have all experienced. When they send investigator Gaspery-Jacques Roberts back in time to discover more, the novel's narratives crystallize flawlessly. 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. Agent: Katherine Fausset, Curtis Brown. (Apr.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Hired to investigate the black-skied Night City, Detective Gaspery-Jacques Roberts discovers an anomaly in the North American Wilderness where he encounters a strange group of individuals who have all glimpsed a chance to do something extraordinary that could disrupt the timeline of the universe. (science fiction). Simultaneous.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"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 an island off Vancouver in 1912 to a dark colony of the moon three hundred years later, unfurlinga story of humanity across centuries and planets"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

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 of the moon three 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 bestselling 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 an audiobook of time travel and metaphysics that precisely captures the reality of our current moment.