Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 272 pages
Audiobook Length: 7 hours and 30 minutes
First Published: 2022
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Knopf Books. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Emily St. John Mandel (author of Station Eleven) returns with her third novel, a story about parallel worlds and alternate possibilities. In 1912, a young man hears a violin playing in the Canadian woods, an event that a videographer captures in the present day. Two hundred years later, a famous writer includes a similar haunting scene in one of her books. Decades later, Gaspery-Jacques Roberts is hired to investigate this anomaly in time, one that has the potential to disrupt the universe’s timeline.
At under 300 pages with a large font and small size, Sea of Tranquility is an extremely short read. Mandel brilliantly writes literary science fiction, and Sea of Tranquility has a gorgeous lyrical presence to it. The story is simple and unrushed, laying out each scenario and then tying it all together as Gaspery-Jacques’ time-traveling contemplates the nature of destiny and fate.
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 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 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 Emily St. John Mandel
Emily St. John Mandel is the author of five books, including Station Eleven, Last Night in Montreal, Sea of Tranquility, and The Glass Hotel. Mandel currently lives in New York City. Visit the author’s website →