Sea State: Book summary and reviews of Sea State by Tabitha Lasley

Sea State

A Memoir

by Tabitha Lasley

Sea State by Tabitha Lasley X
Sea State by Tabitha Lasley
Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A stunning and brutally honest memoir that shines a light on what happens when female desire conflicts with a culture of masculinity in crisis.

In her midthirties and newly free from a terrible relationship, Tabitha Lasley quit her job at a London magazine, packed her bags, and poured her savings into a six-month lease on an apartment in Aberdeen, Scotland. She decided to make good on a long-deferred idea for a book about oil rigs and the men who work on them. Why oil rigs? She wanted to see what men were like with no women around.

In Aberdeen, Tabitha became deeply entrenched in the world of roughnecks, a teeming subculture rich with brawls, hard labor, competition, and the deepest friendships imaginable. The longer she stayed, the more she found her presence had a destabilizing effect on the men—and her.

Sea State is on the one hand a portrait of an overlooked industry: "offshore" is a way of life for generations of primarily working-class men and also a potent metaphor for those parts of life we keep at bay—class, masculinity, the transactions of desire, and the awful slipperiness of a ladder that could, if we tried hard enough, lead us to security.

Sea State is on the other hand the story of a journalist whose professional distance from her subject becomes perilously thin. In Aberdeen, Tabitha gets high and dances with abandon, reliving her youth, when the music was good and the boys were bad. Twenty years on, there is Caden: a married rig worker who spends three weeks on and three weeks off. Alone and in an increasingly precarious state, Tabitha dives into their growing attraction. The relationship, reckless and explosive, will lay them both bare.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"In this breathtaking debut, Lasley, a former journalist, interrogates class, love, and politics as she chronicles the months she spent interviewing offshore oil riggers in Aberdeen, Scotland…Rendered in irresistible prose, her whirlwind affair becomes a humanizing subplot and an arresting character study...The result is a compassionate portrayal of what it takes to survive an inhospitable corner of the world." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"In poetically hard-edged prose, Lasley explores offshore rigging culture and the anti–workers' rights culture that created it. She also shows how the hypermuscular capitalism in which it is entrenched deforms, and often destroys, relationships. A raw, bold, unsparing memoir." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Grippingly candid and savagely self-aware." - Esquire (UK)

"Reading Lasley's prose is like having a long conversation with someone highly intelligent, intuitive and more sensitive than she dares let on." - The Spectator (UK)

"[Lasley] has the skill, a Joan Didion kind of skill, of inflecting non-fiction material subjectively, a habit of assessing situations via her nervous system...Sea State has all the presentness of fiction, as well as the exactitude of the non-fiction novel and the gleam of confession. [Lasley] conjures an industry and a place, but much more than that, she shows us the men themselves, and their relation to her, a mysterious tale of love and fear." - London Review of Books (UK)

"In these accounts of the offshore men who do our dirty work for us, Tabitha Lasley has struck black gold. These are powerful and moving stories of working lives in a dangerous and all-male environment, made all the more powerful by the way Lasley refuses to absent herself from the telling. The writing is carefully and unobtrusively polished, with hard edges and unflinching clarity, and a memorable turn of phrase. Sea State marks the arrival of a gifted and exciting new voice." - Jon McGregor, author of Reservoir 13

This information about Sea State was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Tabitha Lasley

Tabitha Lasley was a journalist for ten years. She has lived in London, Johannesburg, and Aberdeen. Sea State is her first book.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more biography/memoir...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...
  • Book Jacket: Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    by Kevin Wilson
    The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with ...
  • Book Jacket: Foster
    Foster
    by Claire Keegan
    Irish author Claire Keegan is experiencing a surge in popularity, thanks to the selection of her ...
  • Book Jacket
    Dr. No
    by Percival Everett
    Percival Everett's novel Dr. No follows Wala Kitu, a professor of mathematics at Brown University ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Honor
by Thrity Umrigar
Set in India, a tender and evocative novel about love across a cultural divide, familial devotion and betrayal.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Izquierdo
    by Rubén Degollado

    A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Who Said...

The silence between the notes is as important as the notes themselves.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.