Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel

Published: 2022. 1. First lines. 2. Cover: Pan Macmillan 3. Violin [Public Domain] via Public Domain Pictures 4. Forest background. [Public Domain] via Pixnio

In 1912, a young migrant called Edwin has an unsettling experience in the forests of western Canada – he hears violin music in an unfamiliar setting. In the present day, a composer in New York shows a video, seemingly of what Edwin had experienced. In the 23rd Century, Olive Llewellyn has comes from the Moon, where colonies have been established as preparation for when Earth is no longer habitable. She is touring a pandemic-ravaged Earth to promote her book. Hundreds of years later, a person named after a character in Olive’s book is investigating the phenomenon experienced by Edwin and others over the centuries.

“No star burns forever.”

This book is riveting, but not in a sensational or dramatic way – it is the intriguing storyline that keeps the reader turning the pages. New York Times comments: “In “Sea of Tranquility,” Mandel offers one of her finest novels and one of her most satisfying forays into the arena of speculative fiction yet, but it is her ability to convincingly inhabit the ordinary, and her ability to project a sustaining acknowledgment of beauty, that sets the novel apart.” The author makes the concept of time-travel seem like everyday life, and she skilfully keeps the reader unconfused by multiple characters and time periods. It is a brilliantly-imagined story, a “tender and idiosyncratic novel (that) will undeniably make its own mark on its readers’ imaginations.” (The Guardian).


““We knew it was coming but we behaved inconsistently. We stocked up on supplies—just in case—but sent our children to school, because how do you get any work done with the kids at home?”

“When have we ever believed that the world wasn’t ending?”

“Edwin is capable of action but prone to inertia.”

“Your cat’s from 1985”

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