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