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Sea of Tranquility : a novel par Emily St.…
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Sea of Tranquility : a novel (édition 2022)

par Emily St. John Mandel

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7554824,110 (4.16)54
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 five 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.  … (plus d'informations)
Membre:harvrabb
Titre:Sea of Tranquility : a novel
Auteurs:Emily St. John Mandel
Info:New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2022.
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Mots-clés:to-read, From GR

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Sea of Tranquility par Emily St. John Mandel

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Six-word review: Space-time dream shimmers in watercolor layers.

Sea of Tranquility is a beautiful novel. It has a certain mystical quality. Watching it unfold is not like watching an artist at work--Mandel's touch is too subtle for that--but like watching a wind-stirred diaphanous veil alternately conceal and reveal the landscape beyond. The prose is spare but not naked, just very carefully pruned: nothing superfluous, digressive, or self-indulgent. I can see a firm yet delicate hand trimming frills away.

The story is multilayered and multidimensional, yet it has a deceptive simplicity owing to the author's exquisite command of the language. Like a Japanese brush painting, her rendering of scenes and dialogue does more in a single sentence than many writers can achieve in paragraphs. You see one stroke and it conveys an entire image. Where in another author's hands I would see smoke and mirrors, in Mandel's I see expert control of her material with a light touch and a clear instinct for pacing and revelation.

The incorporation of a pandemic into the plotline affords some very relevant observations, notwithstanding the fact that in her narrative it occurs several centuries hence. Even beyond that, I find the author's exploration of classic what-if style conjectures both brilliant and stimulating.

She integrates intriguing philosophical questions, mostly in the voice of her fictional counterpart, novelist Olive Llewellyn. Some of those quotes are transcribed below.

I salute Mandel's courage in using the author as character. I have groaned many a time on meeting this trope in film and fiction, sometimes barely veiled as artist or musician, because it usually plays out as some sort of self-serving self-justification or, equally, self-mortification. Here, to the contrary, I believe she has broadened its dimensions even while anchoring it in the domain of mortal humanity.

A few choice excerpts:

"There's a low-level, specific pain in having to accept that putting up with you requires a certain generosity of spirit in your loved ones." (page 116)

"It's shocking to wake up in one world and find yourself in another by nightfall, but the situation isn't actually all that unusual. You wake up married, then your spouse dies over the course of the day; you wake in peacetime and by noon your country is at war; you wake in ignorance and by evening it's clear that a pandemic is already here." (page 173)

"I think, as a species, we have a desire to believe that we’re living at the climax of the story. It’s a kind of narcissism. We want to believe that we’re uniquely important, that we’re living at the end of history, that now, after all these millennia of false alarms, now is finally the worst that it’s ever been, that finally we have reached the end of the world. ... What if it always is the end of the world? ... Because we might reasonably think of the end of the world as a continuous and never-ending process.” (pages 189-190)

“My personal belief is that we turn to postapocalyptic fiction not because we’re drawn to disaster, per se, but because we’re drawn to what we imagine might come next. We long secretly for a world with less technology in it.” (page 191)

I gave it five stars, a rare rating in my scheme of things. ( )
  Meredy | Jun 28, 2022 |
This masterfully written tale spans several centuries as it slowly (sometimes a bit too slowly) connects the literary dots between interrelated stories. I generally prefer a more linear storyline as opposed to a novel that employs interwoven narratives. But the author is such a skilled storyteller that “Sea of Tranquility” worked for me. I’ve never been a huge fan of time-travelling adventures, but this book is laced with so many creative and thought-provoking twists that it made for an enjoyable read. ( )
1 voter brianinbuffalo | Jun 27, 2022 |
I did not love this book. The references to pandemics just put me off, to be honest; that’s just me, though. What was the point of adding a pandemic layer (or two, or three) to this book? I really enjoyed Glass Hotel, but this one wasn’t for me. I didn’t connect to the characters at all. Was Olive supposed to serve as a parallel to the author herself? That just comes across as contrived to me, I dunno. What was the point? ( )
  samanddiane1999 | Jun 22, 2022 |
Satisfying from cover to cover. I'm a sucker for the nested narrative "cloud atlas" style. The simulation hypothesis keeps coming up in things I read (maybe a glitch?) ( )
1 voter albertgoldfain | Jun 22, 2022 |
Emily St. John Mandel's writing has a quality to it that makes any scene interesting. This novel stretches both into the past and the far future, encompassing the mundane and the fantastic. In one scene, a woman at a party realizes she has fallen out of love with her girlfriend. A writer experiences the tedium of a book tour in a series of motel rooms and snippets from her standard talk. The same writer then experiences the tedium of lockdown during a pandemic in her home in a settlement on the moon. A man, a time traveler, remembers his childhood growing up near that writer's house but two hundred years later, the edge of the dome under which he lived, the strip of overgrown wildness near that periphery.

Her writing is so detailed, so quiet and lovely, so transporting. I just fall into her books.

This book, as I mentioned, has to do with pandemics, moon colonies, time travel, and some interesting ideas about time and reality and the experience of life. It is strongly connected to her previous novels, Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel, and this novel will have more resonance if you've already read those. There seems to be an autobiographical element to it as well, the experience of a writer suddenly thrust into best-selling status, and also some musing on why we are fascinated by postapocalyptic literature. And of course, there is commentary on the pandemic we are currently experiencing. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, which I read in a little over two days, and while nothing yet has quite lived up to the emotional power of Station Eleven, I think Mandel is probably one of the best writers working in that nebulous realm where science fiction and literary fiction merge. ( )
1 voter sturlington | Jun 20, 2022 |
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Edwin St. John St. Andrew, eighteen years old, hauling the weight of his double-sainted name across the Atlantic by steamship, eyes narrowed against the wind on the upper deck: he holds the railing with gloved hands, impatient for a glimpse of the unknown, trying to discern something--anything!--beyond sea and sky, but all he sees are shades of endless gray.
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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 five 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.  

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Emily St. John Mandel est un(e) auteur LibraryThing, c'est-à-dire un(e) auteur qui catalogue sa bibliothèque personnelle sur LibraryThing.

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