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Sea of Tranquility  By  cover art

Sea of Tranquility

By: Emily St. John Mandel
Narrated by: John Lee,Dylan Moore,Arthur Morey,Kirsten Potter
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Publisher's Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • The award-winning, best-selling author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel returns with a novel of art, time travel, love, and plague that takes the listener 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.

“One of [Mandel’s] finest novels and one of her most satisfying forays into the arena of speculative fiction yet.” —The New York Times

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.

©2022 Emily St. John Mandel (P)2022 Random House Audio

Featured Article: A Bittersweet Symphony: A Station Eleven Explainer


Station Eleven is one of the most successful and popular novels of the 21st century so far. Set in a future North America where a deadly flu wipes out 99% of the population, this post-apocalyptic saga focuses on several survivors as they struggle to find meaning and beauty again. Station Eleven is certainly a different listening experience today, in a pandemic-stricken world, than it was when it was first released, less than a decade ago.

What listeners say about Sea of Tranquility

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An excellent listen.

The first third of this book feels like separate character studies. Be warned, these initial personalities crystallize into a series of epiphanies for you. The lack of violence in this story makes room for emotional connection with the characters. Then as you approach the final third, you discover, far to late, that you must compulsively go on to the next chapter, and the next until it becomes a frenzy of remembered past encounters that shape the impending plot. Finally the ending brings satisfaction. A very good listen and I will investigate this author for more. As I cross the western United States in my 18 wheeler delivering fourty thousand pounds of food from place to place I have accumulated about 200 titles in my Scifi, Post Apocalyptic library and from my perspective: this author deserves to be one of those fancy pants best selling, ultra bejeweled types. Great work.

93 people found this helpful

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Best book of 2022

I could not stop listening to this audio book, it was phenomenal! The narrators were all very pleasant and very skilled at portraying the proper emotions of their parts.

Through the visits to different times in this book, we touch a little on life directly before a pandemic, as well as during one. These moments definitely had me reflecting on the past two years and made these characters feel extra real.

I want to write so much more about this book but I don't want to accidentally give anything away. This has taken the spot of my best read for 2022. I cannot recommend it enough.

27 people found this helpful

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Superb

I have enjoyed at least 3 of Mandel's prior novels and this one is maybe the best. I was transfixed. It all comes together toward the end. I rarely write reviews but I have to this time - even the narration is perfect.

18 people found this helpful

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Another Masterpiece by Emily St. John Mandel

absolutely loved this from start to finish. It kept me riveted during my weekend road trip, it was the perfect antidote for a long boring drive.

I would highly recommend reading Glass Hotel before this as two of its main characters (Vincent and Paul) and one minor character (Mirella) in that novel play an important role in Sea of Tranquility and this novel will make much more sense if you understand their relationships to each other and what happened between them.

This book was right up my alley, with its melancholy tone and time travel / science fiction aspects. The book jumps back and forth in time from 1912 Canada, to 2203 Moon colony, to 2020 America, to 2403 or so America, with stops along the way at several other in-between years. The different plot threads don't seem to have any connection at first but but the end of the novel everything the author pulled the threads together in a most impressive way and I was blown away. For such a short novel there is a lot to follow but if you can keep track the payoff is wonderful.

I really enjoyed how the author filled in the background of Vincent and Mirella's relationship early on. Readers of the The Glass Hotel are familiar with what happened to them and their respective husbands, and how their last meeting played out, but in Sea of Tranquility we relive this all from Mirella's point of view. And we learn of Mirella's attempts to track down Vincent and Paul. As a fanatic of The Glass Hotel I was instantly hooked and spellbound.

The novel is told through a number of different points of view- most notably the aforementioned Mirella, a 20th century Englishman named Edwin, a 23rd century author named Olive, and a 25th century security guard/investigator named Gaspery. The plot is built around what seems to be a glitch in time which affects the main characters in their respective eras. I can't say anything more without encroaching on spoiler territory. How the author ties these characters and their threads together was marvelous. The author has a way with character development and smoothly flowing prose which is easy to digest.

The Audible audiobook was narrated by FOUR excellent narrators (including Dylan Moore who also read The Glass Hotel) which really added to the experience. Wow. They made this come to life. It was just so well done. This sort of genre fiction isn't for everyone but was perfect for me. I just can't stop thinking about it. If you liked Glass Hotel I would recommend springing for an Audible credit and listening to this. Right away.

15 people found this helpful

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Another masterpiece.

It is a wonderful thing to be alive here on the Earth at the same time as Emily St. John Mandel. I am getting the far better end of the deal though! Thank you for building such extraordinary stories in which we may immerse ourselves!

8 people found this helpful

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Weak

Very slow and vague. Not sure what the point was of this story.Intriguing concepts but just not stimulating.

7 people found this helpful

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Don’t waste your time

Poor character development, zero energy. Story never got off the ground, kept hoping the pace would pick up, but it just fell short at every chapter. The narrations were good, however the story lacked interest. I had to stop with 2 hrs left to go.

5 people found this helpful

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Not My Favorite Sci-Fi!

Too slow. Would not recommend although I
like Science Fiction. Did show the dangers of time travel.

5 people found this helpful

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I recommend reading the book first

I love Emily St John Mandel but did not enjoy this audio recording. Read the book first!

5 people found this helpful

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Did not see where she was going with this!

In the early stages of this novel I was mildly irritated by the characters and the fact that the people didn’t change much over 300 years. I mean, an author still doing book tours 200 years hence? We can see the end of books now! But about halfway through I got pulled into the world she was weaving and by the end I was quite drawn into it. There have been other books, science-fiction books, with similar premises but this was very well done.

4 people found this helpful