Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel [8/10]

After the triumph of Station Eleven, anticipation was high for “Sea of Tranquility” and I can confirm it is a gem. If it is not quite the masterpiece I might have anticipated, perhaps a trifle overplotted, perhaps a trifle short for its immense subject matter, nonetheless it is a tour de force of brilliant, mind-twisting plotting and characterization. A 1912 adventurer in Canada, a 2020 woman, a 2203 author, and a 2401 time traveler … their lives and stories intertwine bafflingly until the author miraculously ties all the loose ends together. In essence, this is a classic time-travel sci-fi novel from the 1960s, updated and told with piercing humanity. The novel pulses with a longing for fulfillment, even in the face of pandemics and moon-bound artificial cities. The author is a light-fingered, eloquent stylist, and the book melts the hours away like butter. Wonderful.

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