Emily St. John Mandel's Sea of Tranquility really surprised me. Like so many other people, I read and loved Station Eleven, but I wasn't prepared for the sparse poetic style of her new novel. I read this in one afternoon a couple months ago, and haven't been able to get it out of my mind since. Recommended By Adam P., Powells.com
It is so nice to be back in the capable hands of Emily St. John Mandel. This book is a wonder — compelling and charged, musical and shattered. It jumps through time and space, asking questions about art and desire and love and loss. I cannot recommend it enough. Recommended By Kelsey F., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
“A complicated and mysterious puzzle concerning the nature of reality solved perfectly, all loose ends connected....Even more boldly imagined than Station Eleven. Exciting to read, relevant, and satisfying.” Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
“[A] gorgeously rendered, deeply intimate, conceptually rich, and affecting tale….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.” Booklist (Starred Review)
“I could write a thousand words about Emily St. John Mandel, and this book, and this moment but I won't dare spoil it. Truly soul-affirming." Emma Straub
“A spiraling, transportive triumph of storytelling — sci-fi with soul.” Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Mercies
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 and has been translated into thirty-two languages. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.