A handful of disparate lives converge at a remote seaside inn: a lovelorn professor, a renowned painter, an inscrutable seductress - and a beautiful young girl, fatally ill, brought to the sea by a desperate father's last hope. An intricate web of destinies and associations begins to reveal itself, but it is not until the arrival of a mysterious ...
A handful of disparate lives converge at a remote seaside inn: a lovelorn professor, a renowned painter, an inscrutable seductress - and a beautiful young girl, fatally ill, brought to the sea by a desperate father's last hope. An intricate web of destinies and associations begins to reveal itself, but it is not until the arrival of a mysterious sailor called Adams that the truth in all its dreamlike beauty and cruelty becomes clear.Adams may furnish the key to the girl's salvation, but only the fulfilment of his obsessive secret purpose - to answer murder with murder - can conclude the journey that has brought him from the ends of the earth. Alternately playful and profoundly serious, Baricco's novel surges with the hypnotic power of the ocean sea.
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Publishers Weekly, 1999-01-04 Italian writer Baricco, who wrote this novel before the highly regarded Silk, again delivers a work whose spare, lyrical language and enigmatic episodes culminate in a tale of love and revenge. This story of obsession is a meditation on the seaŠits seductive surface and erotic depths with the power to heal or destroy. Mirroring the ebb and flow of the ocean, Baricco's cast of characters complement each other. In 19th-century France, six people are drawn, each for distinct reasons, to a seaside hotelŠinhabited only by four precocious, spiritlike children. Researching his scientific book, An Encyclopedia of Limits, Professor Bartleboom seeks the point at which the sea ends; painter Plasson is determined to find where the sea begins. Ann Deveri? has been sent by her husband to repent her adulturous ways, while Elisewin, a young, sickly girl, experiences her first love and finds her health restored. Father Pluche, the priest who accompanies Elisewin, discovers the meaning of life; a secretive sailor, Adams, searches for death. For each person, the "sea is a place where you take leave of yourself" in search of his or her mystery; yet each character's story of love, betrayal, murder or redemption is revealed to be inexorably entangled with the others' while the sea bears silent witness to their destinies. It is only through the ripples of Adams's vengeful act that each person realizes his or her destiny. Baricco's prose stylistically echoes his central metaphor: his sentences undulating, breaking and subsiding, a mood that translator McEwan maneuvers beautifully. At times this feat is accomplished masterfully; at others the author's hand is all too apparent, eclipsing the delicate mingling of his intriguing characters with their vengeful and poetic twists of fate. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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