Tag Archives: Knopf

Review: Sea of Tranquility

Sea of Tranquility

Sea of Tranquility
By Emily St. John Mandel
Knopf, 9780593321447, April 2022, 272pp.

The Short of It:

Reading Mandel guarantees exploratory thought processes.

The Rest of It:

Summing this story up is not easy. It’s a little bit of everything. There’s space exploration in the form of airships to other worlds, time travel, very interesting characters who float between this world and the next. Really, the story asks the question, what if what we are living in is a simulation? A carefully constructed “reality” that is anything but real?

Sounds wild, right? It is and it’s fascinating the way Mandel takes these characters through different time periods. As with most time travel stories, changes made anywhere within the continuum impact things down the line. Mandel softly tiptoes around this as her characters are warned over and over again what the end result will be. And in the midst of all of this, one of those time periods involves a pandemic.

I really enjoyed this short novel. It provided so much food for thought and was really well done. If you loved Station Eleven, you will appreciate this story as well.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: French Braid

French Braid

French Braid
By Anne Tyler
Knopf, 9780593321096, March 2022, 256pp.

The Short of It:

Families. They expand, and evolve but not always in good ways.

The Rest of It:

The Garretts take a family vacation. Their first and last one in the summer of ’59.  Mercy and Robin’s marriage is strained by Mercy’s desire to paint again. Paint again, in another house, away from her husband, for days on end. Their adult kids are all living their own lives but in a detached, “from afar” way. All of them linked by blood but communication is not their strong suit. They find out about each other’s big life events from others.

This was a strange little read. The family dynamic was interesting but I didn’t find myself pulling for anyone in this story, really. It seemed to span too many years, decades actually and as the story unfolds it meanders along until it wraps up, in what I felt, was a very abrupt way. I think I would have liked it better if the story centered around Mercy and Robin’s marriage alone.

Anne Tyler is a great storyteller. I’ve enjoyed many of her novels but this one left something to be desired.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.