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Sea Creatures Hardcover – July 30, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (July 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006221960X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062219602
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2013: Susanna Daniel found inspiration for her second novel in the film Sleepwalk with Me, comedian Mike Birbiglia’s story of a sleep disorder so profound that he jumped out a motel window and woke up as he hit the lawn, cut and bloody. She wondered what it would be like to be the wife--or the child--of someone whose sleeping body did things that had profound consequences in the waking world. She conveyed these imaginings into a tangled, tenderly believable love story set on Miami's Biscayne Bay and surrounding canals--the scene of her debut, Stiltsville. A gorgeous story that spans the full experiential spectrum of romantic and parental love, artistic impulse, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption, Sea Creatures satisfies on every level. --Mari Malcolm


“A captivating, haunting novel about the complexities of the human heart and its attachments, terrain as slippery and beautiful and disaster prone as Daniel’s South Florida.” (Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone)

“There’s a charmer at the heart of Sea Creatures….Almost like an action-filled, emotional memoir….Gripping.” (Associated Press)

“While Miami has inspired its satirical works of genius, chilling mystery novels and excellent accounts of Cuban exile, we’ve mostly run short on first-rate literature that takes the city seriously enough to capture its eccentricities without flinching....Daniel, with Sea Creatures, gets it absolutely pitch perfect.” (Miami Herald)

“A tender tale of a woman navigating the responsibilities and risks of parenthood.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

“Don’t confuse the waterfront setting with light beach reading; this is substantive domestic drama…readers interested in families coping with disabilities will find Frankie particularly compelling as he navigates changing relationships and obstacles.” (Library Journal)

“Daniel returns to Stiltsville’s South Florida in a second novel filled with domestic upheaval, difficult choices, and far-reaching consequences….Daniel’s verdant descriptions of salt and sea continue to shine, as does her portrayal of a mother struggling to protect her son.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A sophisticated story that holds the reader rapt….[Daniel] sets up each scene in Sea Creatures with masterful strokes….She builds momentum from the opening chapter, leading up to the crescendo….Daniel drives into tumultuous waters and emerges with a mesmerizing, beautiful novel.” (Jeanna Kolker, Wisconsin State Journal)

“Utterly enthralling….[Sea Creatures is] about love, loss, and longing in their most familiar forms. Brace yourself: you’ll fall hard for the characters, and your heartwill break preemptively-even before the hurricane blows through.” (Catherine Newman,

“What I found most stirring in Sea Creatures is how deftly Daniels exposes one of the most agonizing realities of parenthood: that no matter how hard we try, or how endless our love for our children, we are hampered by our own limitations, sometimes even tragically.” (Helen Schulman, author of This Beautiful Life)

“Susanna Daniel brings an uncommon intimacy to her characters’ lives, and also to the landscape where those lives unfold-a cartographer not only of the shore and the ocean but of the passions, bruises, joys, and insufficiencies of the human heart.” (Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead)

“An intelligent page-turner (that is, the dream combination) about, among other things, South Florida, art, insomnia, and marriage.” (Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep and Sisterland)

“Daniel’s writing is rich in description—of both its lush Florida settings and her characters’ emotional landscapes—that draws the reader in.” (Isthmus Review)

“Sea Creatures is perfect for summer reading, a more literary offering than your usual beach fare. Author Susanna Daniel crafts beautiful, dreamy descriptions of ocean life that threaten to lull readers into a sense of complacency.” (The Daily News Journal (Tennessee))

Customer Reviews

Kept me turning pages.
Her characters are well-developed and writing is painfully beautiful.
The story was just a little too slow paced for me.
Kindle Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Denis Vukosav TOP 100 REVIEWER on August 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Sea Creatures" novel written by Susanna Daniel is about a small family that faces big change while attempting to remain intact. Main characters are Georgia and her husband Graham who had both lost their jobs and they are trying to start once again from the beginning. Together with their three years old son Frankie who doesn't speak, they return to Georgia's hometown in Florida. The fresh start begins with the purchase of a ramshackle houseboat on which they would live. Georgia starts working as an assistant for Charlie, an artist living alone in the middle of the Biscayne Bay. Although he is somehow difficult to establish connection with and older than Georgia she will realize her life is changing and relation with Charlie starts transforming into something more than the business relation even helping her son to gain courage to speak. When the hurricane begins approaching Florida and Graham leaves to work on a ship, Georgia would realize that her decisions are endangering the security of her child...

"Sea Creatures" is very realistic novel written in literary style full of emotions that are part of being parent. Her mother worries, her love and devotion, but also her frustrations are every parent's worries. Her failures as parent are painful, they remind her and all of us how parents can make costly mistakes despite their best attempts. Due to that, although this is a beautifully told story, sometimes it felt uneasy to read it.

Novel is written from the Georgia's perspective, sometime skipping from present to her past for reader to be able to more deeply understand who she is, to understand her past which affects her present decisions and doubts. The novel pace is apparently slow but tension is slowly rising like the hurricane which is coming.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Born and raised in Miami, Florida author Susanna Daniel knows that territory well as was seen in her prize winning debut novel, Stiltsville, and is presented again in Sea Creatures. Her descriptions of the surrounding waters are beautifully done, especially the scenes that occur underwater. For this reader those portions of her novel were the most enjoyable as the focus of her story is a disintegrating marriage and the adversities faced by wife/mother, Georgia Quillian.

What once began as a promising life together slowly begins to unravel when husband, Graham's rare sleeping disorder, parasomnia, scuttles his chances for ever receiving tenure at Northwestern where he is a professor. Evidently parasomnia is not a minor disorder as it causes him to awaken at night and do things he would ordinarily not do, such as knocking on the door of a neighbor's house in the middle of the night or throwing himself through a window. All of this is more than unsettling but Georgia does not seem to realize that he might not only be a danger to himself but to her and Frankie, their three-year-old son who refuses to speak.

At the same time that Graham's tenure is denied Georgia's consulting business goes belly up. However, an old associate soon offers Graham a job at the Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Georgia's hometown of Miami. So, the couple decides to try to start anew and move with their son move to Coral Gables. They make their home in an old houseboat they have purchased, tying it up to the dock behind the home of Georgia's father and his second wife.

The couple's relationship does not improve, and soon Georgia takes a part=time job for a recluse, Charlie Hicks, who lives in a stilt house on Biscayne Bay.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Laurel-Rain Snow TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
They fled from the home they had in Illinois, back to Miami where Georgia had grown up. Graham, Georgia, and their three-year-old son Frankie were trailing scandal and disappointment in their wake.

Their flight followed a string of incidents related to Graham's sleep disorder. They would settle in a houseboat in the canal behind the home owned by Georgia's father and stepmother. They were hoping for a chance to start over.

But soon the problems would resurface. When Graham takes a job that keeps him away from them for weeks at a time, they can almost forget the problems. The niggle of doubt remains, however.

Then Georgia starts working as an assistant for a man named Charlie. Nicknamed "The Hermit," he lives in one of the stilt houses in the bay, and is an artist. Frankie accompanies his mother to the stilt house when she works, and soon is bonded to Charlie and loving the life on the water, as well as the sea inhabitants.

As I read Sea Creatures, I was reminded of the previous novel, Stiltsville: A Novel, as some of the characters from that novel showed up in this one. I was also drawn into the watery world that defined these characters, the foreboding that precedes hurricane season, and the constant dread about Graham and the threat he might pose.

Narrated in Georgia's first person voice, we learn about her, her relationships, and the family dynamics, as the story moves back and forth over the years.

And as we follow along, there are questions that are slowly answered.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Susanna Daniel is the author of two novels. SEA CREATURES (HarperCollins, 2013) is a Target Book Club selection and was called "a captivating, haunting novel" by Abraham Verghese, and STILTSVILLE (HarperCollins, 2010) was awarded the 2011 PEN/Bingham prize for outstanding debut work published in 2010.

Daniel was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where she spent much of her childhood at her family's stilt house in Biscayne Bay. She is a graduate of Columbia University of and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and was a Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.

Susanna lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin, where during the long winter she dreams of the sun and the sea, and of jumping off the stilt house porch at high tide. She is at work on a third novel. Learn more about Susanna and Stiltsville at

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