Summary and book reviews of Tides by Sara Freeman

Tides

by Sara Freeman

Tides by Sara Freeman X
Tides by Sara Freeman
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Jan 18, 2022, 256 pages

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Book Summary

An intoxicating, compact debut novel by the winner of Columbia's Henfield Prize, Tides is an astoundingly powerful portrait of a deeply unpredictable woman who walks out of her life and washes up in a seaside town.

After a sudden, devastating loss, Mara flees her family and ends up adrift in a wealthy seaside town with a dead cellphone and barely any money. Mired in her grief, Mara detaches from the outside world and spends her days of self-imposed exile scrounging for food and swimming in the night ocean. In her state of emotional extremis, the sea at the town's edge is rendered bleak, luminous, implacable.

As her money runs out and tourist season comes to a close, Mara finds a job at the local wine store. There, she meets Simon, the shop's soft-spoken, lonely owner. Confronted with the possibility of connection with Simon and the slow return of her desires and appetites, the reasons for her flight begin to emerge.

Reminiscent of works by Rachel Cusk, Jenny Offill, and Marguerite Duras, Tides is a spare, visceral debut novel about the nature of selfhood, intimacy, and the private narratives that shape our lives. A shattering and unforgettable debut.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
[B]eautiful and translucent. Mirroring the ebb and flow of water, short paragraphs leave lots of empty spaces on the page, enhancing the emotional gut punches latent in the text, while moments of heightened action run uninterrupted.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
An emotionally charged story of wanderlust and longing unfolds in Freeman's captivating debut...With an intricate narrative and in deceptively simple language, Freeman captures the full extent of loss. Complicated and enchanting, this prismatic examination of emotional endurance is a winner.

Booklist (starred review)
[B]eautiful and translucent. Mirroring the ebb and flow of water, short paragraphs leave lots of empty spaces on the page, enhancing the emotional gut punches latent in the text, while moments of heightened action run uninterrupted.

Author Blurb Emma Cline
Brilliant, elegant, and unsparing. Tides is a lyrical meditation on selfhood: Sara Freeman illuminates, with a poet's eye, the shifting interior landscape of a woman adrift.

Author Blurb Jamie Quatro
I read Tides in two voracious sittings, thrilled by the push-pull of Sara Freeman's prose: the tightly-controlled surface lyricism barely containing the violent upheaval beneath. Freeman inhabits the mind of her nearly-unhinged narrator so fully that the reader comes to understand — and even identify with — the sometimes twisted logic of grief and unmet longing. Who are we, as women, apart from the ones we love, or try to love? A beautiful, painfully prescient debut from a wildly talented new writer.

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