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Sea Change: A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 2, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Page (Salt) provides a fresh perspective on parallel lives in his latest novel about life after the death of a child in a seaside English town. Five years after the loss of his young daughter, Guy is living alone on a boat drifting aimlessly about the North Sea. His world is far from uninhabited, however, as the characters of his diary swirl about his mind. He writes about what could have been, imagining a life where his daughter is still alive and accompanying her still-married mother and father on a road trip through America. Interestingly, domestic bliss doesn't permeate the fantasy; the tale is wracked with drama and familial discord. As Guy teeters between two lives, the thin line of reality becomes very hard for him to discern. He struggles to find answers in both the endless sea and vast imagined stretches of America, and eventually comes into contact with another family, also reeling from loss, which gives rise to the possibility of stability and comfort. With lyricism and poise, Page renders a doubly engaging story, with one narrative as intricate and essential as the other. (Dec.) (c)
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From Booklist

Married musicians Guy and Judy live an apparently idyllic life in East Anglia with their four-year-old daughter, Freya. But within two months of Freya’s death in an accident, the marriage dissolves. Guy moves aboard a drafty old boat, and for five years, he obsessively creates a diary in which Freya is still alive and the family intact. In Guy’s words, he’s trying to “write a future for her” and cope with the loss of everything he holds precious. On a voyage into the North Sea, he meets a woman and her daughter, who are also grieving, and he realizes that he might be able to build a new life. Page’s first novel, Salt (2007), was described as “both evocative and exhausting,” and those words also characterize Sea Change. The author’s minutely observed characters and his evocation of almost every subject he treats are masterful. But aside from his obsessional diary, Guy is a cipher, and it is difficult to accept that someone who lives a reclusive life isn’t more self-referential. --Thomas Gaughan
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (December 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670021903
  • ASIN: B005K5TDYE
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,024,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In one moment of tragedy, a man's life is forever altered, the perfect future with wife and child vanishing into the realm of memory. Five years later, Guy is adrift in the world and on the North Sea in a ninety-foot Dutch coastal barge, hoping to find in this new wilderness that which has eluded him on land. In fragments of past, present, and the imagining of a future undamaged by the randomness of fate, Page strips to the marrow a man yearning for continuity between past and present, from the fens of East Anglia to the landscape of America's rural south to the drift of the North Sea and the uncharted depths of an emotional abyss. From the morning of the freak accident that shatters his life with wife, Judy, and daughter, Freya, Guy finds temporary solace in his barge's isolated cabin, each night diligently melding past and what might have been.

Hope arrives unexpectedly, as it usually does, in the form of another vessel and its occupants, an opportunity for Guy to reach beyond the stasis of his emotions and embrace another reality than his current fractured existence. Between the three elements of the novel, the accident, the drifting present and the nightly diaries, Page creates a seamless narrative where truth changes shape and intention, where Guy discovers a link between his most cherished child and the world around him. Anything is possible in the netherworld Guy inhabits, even the lessening of pain and the joy of reunion. That Page plumbs such emotional depth without a touch of the maudlin makes this story a moving and thought-provoking experience. Luan Gaines/2010.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This sad story is a character study of a man suffering depression over the loss of his 5-year-old daughter in a tragic accident and the way he has dealt with it for the five years since. To maintain his sanity, he has kept a false diary of daily life with his wife and daughter as if the daughter had never died and his wife had never left him soon after. His life is a disaster since then so the fake diary entries he writes every night are all he has to not want to end his own life.

The ending of the book is totally enigmatic except for the fact that he apparently works out his depression over his daughter's death, but may have developed depression over some other lost love or possible life possibility. His fantasy world begins to come together with his real life and a new world emerges with the meeting of a woman a decade older and her daughter a decade younger. What becomes of his real life is, as I said, enigmatic. Is there some meaning to the new direction in his later writings? Was he killed by wild animals, which would relate to his daughter's fate? Did he assume a new identity and form a new life? Did he commit suicide? I hope someone will answer these questions and a light bulb will turn on in my head because I'm definitely missing cohesion in the story line after reading this dreary tale that so intriguingly seemed to otherwise be building to something special.
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Format: Hardcover
Some pieces of literature are art in its highest form. "Sea Change" by Jeremy Page is one of those books. He paints with words instead of merely constructing a narrative. His writing style is lyrical. He transports the reader into a world fully realized and created on the page.

Things begin in a surreal fashion. Guy and Judy are enjoying a carefree day in a secluded field with their preschool-age daughter, Freya. Page opens with the beautiful image of the young girl capturing a small bead of rainwater from a leaf. The peaceful moment is broken when out of nowhere, a wild stallion appears. He charges the unsuspecting couple killing Freya.

The setting shifts to five years after the accident. Divorced from Judy, Guy is living alone on a houseboat incessantly writing in a diary about what the couple's life would have been like if Freya had lived. He vividly imagines an alternative existence for the three of them. With maps filling the cabin, he envisions a family road trip across the southern United States. While fashioning this parallel world, ugly truths begin to emerge from his inner consciousness as he struggles to maintain a sense of what is real and what is not.

Stopping at a coastal pub where he once shared a poignant moment with Judy, Guy encounters Marta and her daughter, Rhona. Marta is a recent widow trying to come to terms with her husband's passing. Rhona, a wild child now in her twenties, expresses her grief through sexual provocation and suicide attempts. Despite the drama they bring to his solitary existence, Guy begins to feel an intimate connection to them. His feelings for Rhona are complicated. At times, he feels nothing but lust, or he looks at her like the daughter he once had who never had the chance to grow up.
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Format: Hardcover
I felt very noble when I decided to read Sea Change by Jeremy Page. It was clear even from the summary, that this was a reflective, intelligent book. There are times when I enjoy reading books like that. This isn't really one of them. I want to be entertained. However, I decided to give it a fair shot.

The book is extraordinary. I don't think I have it in me to explain how Mr. Page can illuminate both the beauty and pain of a single moment. I was captivated from the beginning, held in suspense by his deceptively leisurely narration.
In 2010, shortly after the book was released, Washington Post staff writer Ron Charles wrote, "As introspective and painful as "Sea Change" is, it remains engaging and even surprising all the way to the end. Page knows enough about real grief to be aware follows no regular stages."

I take issue only with one thing that Mr. Charles said. "This is a difficult book to recommend - a voyage into dark waters all of us want to avoid - but if something about the description resonates with you, seek it out; it won't lead you astray."
It's true that the subject matter is painful, but the story is so beautiful, the main character's grief so authentic, I can't help but recommend it. It's not light reading, and I hate endings that leave major questions unanswered, but the story will stay with me. In my estimation, that earns it highest praise.
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