NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • Longlisted for the 2023 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction
The award-winning, best-selling author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel returns with 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.
“One of [Mandel’s] finest novels and one of her most satisfying forays into the arena of speculative fiction yet.” —The New York Times
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A single event ripples through generations in Emily St. John Mandel’s mind-bending novel. Time-traveling investigator Gaspery-Jacques Roberts has been tasked with looking into an anomaly experienced by three unrelated people over the course of three different centuries. Beginning in 1912, Roberts must visit each period to determine how an English aristocrat, a young girl, and a famous author could all have witnessed the same phenomenon—one that left each of them questioning their sight, their sanity, and even their own existence. Station Eleven author Mandel masterfully weaves together multiple storylines into one fast-paced read that took us through time and space with unending excitement. We were impressed by the way she incorporates poignant themes of love, humanity, and tragedy into one enthralling tale. Sea of Tranquility is a thought-provoking story about the inexplicable ways in which we’re all connected.
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.
Flew through this one in a couple hours! I was pleasantly surprised by the very unique storyline, and yet it was still realistic enough to be believable. If you don’t like time travel as a plot device, multiple time periods, or science fiction then I definitely wouldn’t choose this to read next. That being said I personally really enjoyed this and have never read a book like it. I plan to reread it again within the next year before the series is released!
Waste of time
Hard to get into. Didn’t find any of the characters likable.
I liked the time travel thing but it was hard for me to get into the book. Not bad but it wasn’t for me.