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Reviews for Sea Of Tranquility

by Emily St. John Mandel

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Characters living centuries apart all have the same brief, puzzling experience—what does this mean about the nature of time? In 1912, at an estate in the British countryside, 18-year-old Edwin St. Andrew makes a rude comment at dinner and is sent in disgrace to live in Canada. In 1994, a young girl makes a video in the woods near her home; in 2020, after her death, her composer brother screens it during a concert. (These last two are Vincent and Paul Smith, characters from Mandel's last book, The Glass Hotel.) In 2203, author Olive Llewellyn has left her husband and daughter at home on the moon's Colony Two to travel to Earth for a book tour to promote her pandemic novel, Marienbad (reminiscent of Mandel's own bestselling Station Eleven). " 'I was so confused by your book,' a woman in Dallas said. 'There were all these strands, narratively speaking, all these characters, and I felt like I was waiting for them to connect, but they didn't, ultimately. The book just ended. I was like... "Huh? Is the book missing pages?" It just ended.' " This and other annoyances from Olive's book tour seem to humorously reflect Mandel's own experience, but no one will be making a similar complaint about her latest—a complicated and mysterious puzzle concerning the nature of reality solved perfectly, all loose ends connected. To find out why these various people have all experienced the same weird few seconds of sound and sensation, we must go all the way to the 2400s, when there are three colonies on the moon designed to relieve overcrowding on Earth, and where we meet a character named after someone in Olive's novel—yet he is already strangely familiar. Some of the scenes involving life in 25th-century pandemic quarantine are quite recognizable; this novel is futuristic without being all that dystopian. Perhaps our expectations have changed. Even more boldly imagined than Station Eleven. Exciting to read, relevant, and satisfying. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.