Book Reviews

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

How to review this extraordinary book? You will find it in the Science Fiction section of the library/bookshop but that is misleading. Yes, the plot entails time travel, spanning time from 1912 to 2401, but that is not the essence of this book. What is the essence of this novel? That humans, no matter what century they live in, experience the same emotions, and that some decisions made, will reverberate through time.

The book is suffused with a sense of poignancy and melancholy. As it slips between its timelines the reader begins to see returning motifs: a maple tree in a forest; a violin player in a terminal; a quote from a book: ‘We knew it was coming’. How Mandel brings these parallel stories to a cohesive conclusion is surprising, and satisfying.

I highly recommend this book. Ignore the Science Fiction label; you won’t be disappointed!

Reviewed by Gaby Meares
Murder on a Monday Reading Group

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Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

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