WellRead May Selection: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
Introducing May's selection Sea of Tranquility by the inimitable Emily St. John Mandel. We suspect one of two things occurred when our subscribers opened their deliveries this month: either they received a new release from an author they know and trust, a work which is a literary event in itself and which promises nothing but luminous reading; or, just maybe, they might have missed the earlier books and the buzz around the HBO adaptation, meaning that we had the honour of introducing them to this literary master and her spectacular, elegant and thrilling writing. Either way, we're excited for you, readers. This is a special one!
Emily St. John Mandel's books can be challenging to describe due to their layered storylines, interweaving narratives and elaborate plots. It is a sign of Mandel's immense talent that they are anything but a challenge to read. In fact, we place them in the irresistibly compulsive camp. With this in mind, we'll keep the plot description intentionally vague and say that Sea of Tranquility is a story about creativity and love, chance and self-reinvention, loneliness and exile, and the small and great ways people are connected. It takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony of the moon three hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space. If this is sounding too sci-fi for your palate, know that Mandel's work is often positioned as sci-fi for literary readers ('sci-fi with soul' being our favourite description), and that her books are primarily concerned with her characters' psychologies (bogged in technological detail you will not be).
“A mesmerising novel that is both hard to put down and impossible to stop thinking about" as one review aptly put it. Read a letter from author Emily St. John Mandel below.