Review: Safe from the Sea

Safe from the SeaSafe from the Sea
By Peter Geye
Unbridled Books
September 2010
256pp

The Short of It:

A quiet, simple story about a father and a son. Told in simple, but beautiful prose, Safe from the Sea reminds you what it feels like to read a really good book.

The Rest of It:

Noah returns home to take care of his dying father, Olaf. The two have not been close for several years, so Noah is surprised at his father’s request. Although the decision to return home is not an easy one and is not a decision his wife Natalie is happy about, he decides to make the trip back to the lakeshore landscape of northern Minnesota. There, the two grapple with their past and what brought them to this place in their lives.

Peter Geye’s writing is simple and clean. There are no extraneous details to be found. Every word is thoughtfully chosen and blends seamlessly into the story as a whole. The characters are genuine and weathered to a degree, which makes them all the more endearing to the reader.

Most of the novel takes place in a cabin on the lake. Surrounded by the chill of winter, you can smell the fire in the wood stove, feel the crispness of the snow beneath their feet. This is one of those novels where the setting certainly adds to the story, but Geye manages to allow it to exist within the background, quietly. It doesn’t compete with the rest of the story, and I found that the same can be said for any of the components within this novel. They all mesh beautifully with one another.

2010 Indie Lit Awards Lit Fic Finalist

I really enjoyed Safe from the Sea. I found it to be deeply moving and well told.

Source: Purchased

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24 Responses

  1. I’ve not read a bad review of this book yet. Some have even annointed it one of their best of whichever year they read it in. I love that simple and powerful sentence at the beginning of your review…”reminds you what it feels like to read a really good book”.

  2. Sounds like a really nice book, and what a gorgeous cover!!!

  3. This sounds like the type of of story I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Glad you liked this one Ti, I have it coming from the library. I love a quieter sort of story myself so I’m really looking forward to it.

  5. I’m looking forward to reading this one.

  6. I don’t think I’ve read a single bad thing about this book! It sounds wonderful!

  7. I love your description of “reminds you what it is like to read a really good book.”

  8. I believe that I read a review of this on Mary’s blog- Bookfan and she loved it too. I marked it then as a book to read in 2011 and now I’ll have to move it up to the top of the list!!

  9. Great review. I’m so glad this one made it into the Indie Lit Awards.

  10. I think I need to read this one! Off to my library online to see if any copies are available. I really love your review of it–oh,and just wanted to say that your comments on my blog make me smile! :)
    Have a great Wednesday….

  11. You’ve definitely made me want to pick this one up sooner than later! I love the idea of the setting being so important and yet done in such a subtle way.

  12. Peter Geye’s prose sounds refreshing. So many books seem to have almost too many words! I have the impression that this book is a calm, relaxing and wonderful experience which really interests me. I’m also intrigued that it’s about a father and son since so many of the books I read are about women and their relationships or male/female relationships.

    Thank you fora terrific review, Ti! I’m putting this one on my TBR list!
    ~ Amy

    • And the balance between the interior and exterior scenes.. just enough to paint the picture and and leave a bit of salt in the air. You will love this one.

  13. Great review! I’m looking forward to reading this one. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

  14. I was certainly surprised by this one. In a good way!

  15. i am just finishing a novel like this–the plot is nothing earth shattering but the story itself really well written and fluid. sounds like an enjoyable read!

  16. You and Trish have convinced me to read this one. I don’t know why it never appealed to me (the cover? the title?), but I’m hooked now and have requested it from the library!

  17. Another hit for Unbridled Books! Can’t wait to pull this one from the TBR pile. Maybe next!

  18. [...] Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni Annabel by Kathleen Winter 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam [...]

  19. [...] couple of years ago I read Safe from the Sea and was amazed, overwhelmed and touched by its beauty. Geye’s sense of place was remarkable [...]

  20. [...] Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson 2. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls 3. Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye 4. Great House by Nicole Krauss 5. C by Tom McCarthy 6. Room by Emma Donoghue [...]

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