Hello everyone! I hope the holiday season is treating you well so far. I am wrapping up all my Christmas shopping and trying not to stress out over the holidays too much. This will probably be my last review of the year. I have another book that I might be able to finish, but we will just see. I’ve read a lot of intense books this year so it is nice to end this year on a softer note. Let’s talk about Sea of Tranquility.
In 1912, a young man named Edwin St. Andrew travels to Vancouver to start a new life away from his aristocratic family. While exploring a forest, Edwin has a bizarre experience; the most distinct thing he remembers is the sound of a violin. Two centuries later, an author named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour for her critically acclaimed novel about a pandemic. Within that novel is a passage about a mysterious man playing the violin when something strange happens to him. A century after that, Gaspery Roberts is hired by the Time Institute to investigate a strange anomaly that is appearing across time. During his travels, Gaspery encounters various strangers with tragic fates. He realizes, though, that it might not have end that way after all.
While I typically read very action-packed and complex science fiction, it is nice to see an author explore some of the profound questions that arise from the genre. Emily St. John Mandel delivers a poignant, philosophical narrative about fate and free will. Time travel can be a tricky plot device but it is handled wonderfully throughout this book. I enjoyed the delicate balance between hopefulness and existential fear that threads through each character’s life. It is hard for me to properly describe what happens in this novel, but Emily St. John Mandel makes it make sense in her own wonderful way. I would recommend this novel if you want a science fiction read that is both thought-provoking and sentimental in the best ways.