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Katy Simpson Smith

The Story of Land and Sea

Katy Simpson Smith The Story Of Land And Sea
$11.19 New
 
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Series:

P.S.

Main description:

Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this incandescent debut novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave, characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love.

Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her.

Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father’s wishes by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.

In this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the lonely paths we travel in the name of renewal.

Review quote:

“[A] moving family saga.”

Review quote:

“[An] assured and lovely first novel...”

Review quote:

“A luminous debut…”

Review quote:

“A luminous Revolutionary War novel set to be the debut of the year”

Review quote:

“A marvel. With prose as meticulous as brushstrokes, I can think of no other debut filled with such wonder, grace, and beauty…a tremendous achievement, a masterful exploration of parenthood and faith…An heir apparent to Michael Ondaatje and Marilynne Robinson, Katy Simpson Smith has written a book for all of us.”

Review quote:

“A pristine and powerful book…[Smith’s] voice is a poet’s and her vision is as expansive as the ocean, as the history in its depths. In her gorgeous and heart-rending first novel, she lays bare the hearts of parent and child, slave and master, and, most impressively, her readers.”

Review quote:

“For all her mastery of the willful moral ambiguity that lies in the hearts of her characters, Smith is equally adept at describing small but heartbreaking moments in relationships...It’s not only among the most assured debut novels in recent memory, it heralds the birth of a major new talent.”

Review quote:

“Haunting…The Story of Land and Sea’s finely wrought language blends startling details of the everyday with a dreamy, aphoristic quality. The effect is to root the novel in its historical moment but to reach toward the universal in its exploration of love and grief.”

Review quote:

“Hypnotic…Smith employs a style of impressively measured, atmospheric understatement in her unabashedly stark descriptions, and we thrill to watch her characters row stoically into a darkening future.”

Review quote:

“Morally resolute, emotionally nuanced, painstaking researched, and gorgeously expressed, Smith’s debut marks her as a historical novelist to look out for.”

Review quote:

“Often, a book with sensational advance press doesn’t live up to the hype. Not so with “With spellbinding storytelling and historical basis, [Katy Simpson Smith] draws readers into the literary sea with this debut novel…she knows her history well but also knows human nature, exposing it in another time in a way we can feel as truth.”


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