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Sea of Tranquility: A novel

By Emily St. John Mandel

“In Sea of Tranquility, Mandel offers one of her finest novels and one of her most satisfying forays into the arena of speculative fiction yet, but it is her ability to convincingly inhabit the ordinary, and…project a sustaining acknowledgment of beauty, that sets the novel apart…Born of…empathy and hard-won understanding, beautifully built into language, for all of us who inhabit this ‘green-and-blue world’ and who one day might live well beyond.” 

 —Laird Hunt, The New York Times


“Sea of Tranquility is broader in scope than any of Mandel’s previous novels, voyaging profligately across lands and centuries…Destabilizing, extraordinary, and blood-boiling…Mandel weds a sharp, ambivalent self-accounting—the type of study that tends to wear the label ‘autofiction’—to a speculative epic. We are shown what two forms can offer each other, and exposed to the interrogating possibilities of science fiction.” 

—Katy Waldman, The New Yorker


“‘Reality is things as they are,’ Wallace Stevens declared, and who could argue with that? Well, legions of philosophers and any number of novelists, among them Emily St. John Mandel, who, like an ingenious origami artist, seems determined with each new work to add yet another fold to our perception of what is real and one further twist to what we think of as time…Transcendent.” 

—Anna Mundow, Wall Street Journal


"Mandel delivers...with an impish blend of wit and dread. The paradoxes of Gaspery’s adventure will be familiar to anyone who’s studied Jean Baudrillard or seen “Back to the Future.” But Mandel has the stylistic elegance and emotional sympathy to make this more than merely an undergraduate bull session. Absent your own time portal to the 1990s, it’s a chance to... wrestle with the mind-blowing possibility that what is may be entirely different from what we see."

—Ron Charles, The Washington Post


"Bold and exciting...Sea of Tranquility is Ms Mandel’s most ambitious novel yet (which is saying something). Inventive and...mind-bending, thanks to her disrupted timelines and fully realised vision of lunar settlements and parallel universes...Her depiction of a future pandemic is recognisable and touching...An illuminating study of survival and, in the words of one character, 'what makes a world real.'"

—The Economist


“Fusing sci-fi and great storytelling, this imaginative novel from the author of Station Eleven explores how technology might control our fate if we abandon compassion.”

—People Magazine


"St John Mandel’s tender and idiosyncratic novel will undeniably make its own mark on its readers’ imaginations."

—Alexander Larman, The Guardian


"Mandel’s sensational sixth novel offers immense pleasures of puzzle box plotting and high-flying imagination... Masterfully plotted and deeply moving, this visionary novel folds back on itself like a hall of mirrors to explore just what connects us to one another, and how many extraordinary contingencies bring us to each ordinary day of our lives."

—Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire


“I didn't just read Station Eleven, The Glass Hotel, or Mandel's latest, Sea of Tranquility. I lived in those novels and felt the remnants of their weird, chill atmosphere long after I had to move on…World builder is a phrase that's rightly used to describe Mandel's immersive powers as a novelist…Sea Of Tranquility is a poignant, ingeniously constructed and deeply absorbing novel that surveys big questions about the cruel inevitability of time passing, loss, the nature of what we consider reality and, in the end, what finally matters…Mandel is an important novelist of our moment, but doesn't settle for merely replicating our moment. She inhabits it even as she sees beyond it.” 

—Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air


"There is both elegance and tenderness in Mandel’s narrative design...For her, science fiction allows us only enough escape from our context to let us regard it from a softening distance."

—Sophia Nguyen, The Nation


“Lovely, life-affirming…The project of Sea of Tranquility is about finding meaning and beauty within a world that is constantly dying, about relishing a life that seems always on the cusp of awful and irrevocable change…. Mandel’s prose is shot through with moments of unexpected lyricism…that take you by surprise with their limpid sweetness… Nourishing and needed. The world is always ending, this book says, and there is always beauty to be found in it.”

—Constance Grady, Vox