Synopses & Reviews
An astonishing fiction debut from a UC Irvine MFA graduate and recent contributor to The New Yorker.
Bewitching and playful, with its feet only slightly tethered to the world we know, The Sea Beast Takes a Lover explores hope, love, and loss across a series of surreal landscapes and wild metamorphoses. Just because Jenny was born without a head doesn’t mean she isn’t still annoying to her older brother, and just because the Man of the Future’s carefully planned extramarital affair ends in alien abduction and network fame doesn’t mean he can’t still pine for his absent wife. Romping through the fantastic with big-hearted ease, these stories cut to the core of what it means to navigate family, faith, and longing, whether in the form of a lovesick kraken slowly dragging a ship of sailors into the sea, a small town euthanizing its grandfathers in a time-honored ritual, or a third-grade field trip learning that time travel is even more wondrous – and more perilous – than they might imagine.
Andreasen’s stories are simultaneously daring and deeply familiar, unfolding in wildly inventive worlds that convey our common yearning for connection and understanding. With a captivating new voice from an incredible author, The Sea Beast Takes a Lover uses the supernatural and extraordinary to expose us at our most human.
"The Sea Beast Takes a Lover is a treasury of fantastic tales – full of mermaids, prophetic dancing bears, exploding children, and distraught time travelers. It’s also a collection of longing, of loss, of loving deeply, and of learning what it means to care for others. A brilliant book, daring and wonderful." Alexander Weinstein, author of Children of the New World
"Andreasen has the soul of a poet and the heart of a yarn spinner; he breathes new life into familiar tropes via the ingenuity of his storytelling and his tendency to color outside the lines. The 11 refreshing stories in this debut collection are full of delicious detours, and ultimately they’re the point." Publisher’s Weekly
"Each [story] strikes the balance between fantasy as metaphor and fantasy in itself.…Highly recommended for both fans of literary speculative fiction and general readers." Booklist
"A debut short story collection that treads the line between the speculative and the satirical with vivid prose, fatalist joie de vivre, and wild imaginative turns. Andreasen’s style is reminiscent of George Saunders....Energetic and engaging, these stories benefit from the sheer vigor of their telling." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Michael Andreasen holds a Masters degree in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Zoetrope: All-Story, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. He lives in Southern California. The Sea Beast Takes a Lover is his first book.