All at Sea: Book summary and reviews of All at Sea by Decca Aitkenhead

All at Sea

A Memoir

by Decca Aitkenhead

All at Sea by Decca Aitkenhead
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2016
    240 pages
    Genre: Biographies/Memoirs

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Book Summary

A beautifully written, breathtakingly honest, unsentimental, and profound memoir from one of the UK's most popular journalists.

On a hot, still morning on a beautiful beach in Jamaica, Decca Aitkenhead's life changed forever. Her four-year-old son was paddling peacefully at the water's edge when a wave pulled him out to sea. Her partner, Tony, swam out and saved their son's life - then drowned before her eyes.

When Decca and Tony first met, a decade earlier, she was a renowned Guardian journalist, profiling leading politicians of the day; he was a dreadlocked criminal with a history of drug dealing and violence. No one thought the romance would last, but it did - until the tide swept Tony away, plunging Decca into the dark chasm of random tragedy.

Exploring race and redemption, privilege and prejudice, All at Sea is a remarkable story of love and loss, of how one couple changed each other's lives, and of what a sudden death can do to the people who survive.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Aitkenhead's tightly written memoir looks beyond commonly held truths, taking readers deep into the morass of human emotion and leaving them gasping for air." - Publishers Weekly

"But in the end, it is the author's resilience after her lover's death - which she describes with poised eloquence - that renders the narrative especially satisfying. An unsentimental yet affecting memoir." - Kirkus

"This book is impossible to forget: I finished it in one sitting - in a paralyzed, stunned, empathetic trance ... its emotional exactitude makes it remarkable ... what makes the book powerful is that it reminds one that grief is about transformation, the loss of old moorings, a new permission to put the heart first - a sea change." - The Guardian (UK)

"Aitkenhead has an incredible gift for writing. Events are set down almost immediately, and her handling of the tragedy - despite her raw torment - is so clear and so carefully paced, it's astonishing ... Her ache for honesty is searing at times but the overwhelming truth is that Aitkenhead has produced a work of art." - Evening Standard (UK)

"An extraordinary memoir, a beautifully written account of life, love and what is left of both after tragedy ... All at Sea is utterly heartbreaking but it is also a brave and honest account of grief and its aftermath that will stay with you long after you finish the last page." - The Daily Express (UK)

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Decca Aitkenhead is an award-winning journalist who conducts interviews with leading figures in public life for the Guardian. She lives in rural Kent with her two young sons.

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