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InstaReview: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

"I think, as a species, we have the 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 are 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."

Sea of Tranquility spans from the 1912 wilderness of Victoria Island to the moon colonies of 2203. With this vast time and space to work with, Emily St. John Mandel weaves a beautiful narrative about the inevitability of loss through the passing of time and what we consider reality. These topics are explored through the perspective of four different characters, during four different eras - a teenager exiled to the Canadian Wilderness, a woman seeking closure in an untimely death, a lonely man searching for purpose, and an author touring Earth. These four humans are connected, but it’s unclear why. The novel unravels like a mystery, taking us from pine covered British Columbia to the artificial gravity of the moon and back. It's a slow burn, but your patience will be rewarded. Additionally, we loved how the author used little pieces of her previous works, Station Eleven and The Glass Castle, to add another layer of intimacy within the novel. However, this is a standalone story and reading her previous novels is not a requirement to love this book, which we give 4 glowing stars.


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