Excerpt from Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Sea of Tranquility

A novel

by Emily St. John Mandel

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel X
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2022, 272 pages

    Mar 2023, 272 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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Print Excerpt

The cost of repair was deemed prohibitive. There was a degree of adaptation—bedroom windows were outfitted with shutters, so people could sleep during the nights when the sun was out, and street lighting was improved for the days without sunlight—but property values declined, and most people who could afford it moved to Colony One or the recently completed Colony Three. "Colony Two" drifted out of common parlance; everyone called it the Night City. It was the place where the sky was always black.

I grew up in the Night City. My walk to school took me past the childhood home of Olive Llewellyn, an author who'd walked those same streets two hundred years ago, not too far out from the moon's first settlers. It was a little house on a treelined street, and I could tell that it had been pretty once, but the neighborhood had gone downhill since Olive Llewellyn had been a child there. The house was a wreck now, half the windows covered up and gra"ti everywhere, but the plaque by the front door remained. I paid the house no attention, until my mother told me she'd named me after a peripheral character in Marienbad, Llewellyn's most famous book. I didn't read the book—I didn't like books—but my sister Zoey did and reported back: the Gaspery-Jacques in the book wasn't anything like me.

I decided not to ask her what she meant. I was eleven when she read it, which would have made her thirteen or fourteen. By then she was already a serious, driven kind of person who was obviously going to excel at everything she attempted, whereas by eleven I already had the first suspicions that I might not be exactly the kind of person I wanted to be, and it would be awful if she were to tell me that the other Gaspery-Jacques were, say, a strikingly handsome and generally impressive person who was extremely focused on his schoolwork and never committed petty theft. But nonetheless I began to secretly regard Olive Llewellyn's childhood home with a degree of respect. I felt connected to it.

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Excerpted from Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel. Copyright © 2022 by Emily St. John Mandel. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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