Sea of Tranquility

by Emily St. John Mandel

HarperCollins, 2022

25 pages 

Science Fiction, Fantasy

The award-winning, bestselling 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 nearly five hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space.


The story begins when eighteen year old Edwin St. John St. Andrew arrives in Halifax in 1912. Months later he finds himself on Northern Vancouver Island in the tiny community of Caitte where he has the most unsettling experience: he finds himself momentarily thrown into a train station with notes of violin music, other people, and strange sounds.

As the story moves back and forth through 500 years of time, from earth to the moon colonies, we learn that several other people had the same experience as Edwin: Alan Sami playing a violin in an Oklahoma City Airship Terminal in 2200, a young girl named Vincent walking through the same forest near Caiette in the early 2000s, and Olive Llewellyn in 2023 as she promotes her pandemic book.

Enter Gaspery Roberts, a former hotel detective turned time-traveller, and resident of the Night City on the first moon colony. It's now 2401 and Gaspery has been tasked with interviewing the people above in an effort to understand the anomaly.

This is a dangerous job and Gaspery has been warned repeatedly not to do anything that might alter any timelines.

My Review:

This is the third book by Mandel that I've read and they're all equally wonderful.

Sea of Tranquility is a quietly haunting book that explores families, love, life and loss throughout the centuries, with various plagues featured in each timeline. 

The story is also centred around the simulation hypothesis, which proposes that all of our lives are merely simulated computer-driven realities. 

My favourite quote from the book: 

If definitive proof emerges that we're living in a simulation, the correct response to that news will be So what. A life lived in a simulation is still a life.

I love that. This is what Gaspery says towards the end of the book and for me it's part of a perfectly, satisfying ending.

I found all the characters intriguing, with some more fully fleshed out than others. We learn a lot about Edwin, Olive and Gaspery. It's hard to pick a favourite, but I really liked Gaspery, since he was a bit of a bumbling time traveller and had a few moral dilemmas to deal with.  Olive was interesting too, as she pondered her love for her family with her conflicting desire to be on earth, so far away from them. It was also fun to read about the ways she handled all her book interviews and the passive-aggressive snarkiness from time to time.

I loved the time travel aspect to the story. Sometimes jumping from timeline to timeline can be a little confusing, but I thought Mandel handled it well. Each section of the story was long enough to give you lots of tantalizing information but not so long that you forgot about the various other characters.

What I also loved was the way she intertwined characters from The Glass Hotel into this book! Mirella Kessler, Vincent Alkatis Smith, Jonathan Alkatis, and Paul James all appear in both books.

Having said that, this is book is a complete stand-alone, so don't feel like you need to read The Glass Hotel first.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Happy reading!

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Thursday, January 12, 2023


Going Rogue: Rise and Shine Twenty-Nine 

by Janet Evanovich 

Book 29 of 29 

Atria Books (November 1, 2022)

325 pages 

Humorous Fiction, Women Sleuths

Going Rogue by Janet Evanovich

Thursday, January 5, 2023