The Marriage of the Sea A Novel

Jane Alison

Picador

0312422555

9780312422554

Trade Paperback

272 Pages

$18.00

CAD20.00

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A New York Times Notable Book

In a damp Venetian palace, Oswaldo contemplates the ravages of time to his body and his beloved city, and dreams up a way to hold mortality at bay. In New York, Lach steps out into the crisp, clear night to savor his freedom, having just dropped Vera to join his new love, Francesca, in Venice. In rainy London, Max packs for a precipitous move to New Orleans, in pursuit of Lucinde, a woman he barely knows. In New Orleans, Lucinde plans to fly to the aid and comfort of Vera, who, betrayal or no, has accepted a grant to go paint in . . . Venice. And elsewhere in the Crescent City, Anton, sleepless before he leaves to seek his big break in—where else?—Venice, sketches a good-bye upon the slumbering body of his wife, Josephine.

With wit, sympathy, and surpassing deftness, Jane Alison choreographs an intricate quadrille among these characters, drawn by love and loneliness, aspiration and desperation, to two famously romantic, venal, and elusive cities of water.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Marriage of the Sea

"Wrenching and beautifully written . . . A dreamlike, gorgeously watery novel."—San Francisco Chronicle

"[I]ntricate, elegant . . . [T]he connections among the characters, their struggles to know and be known, are revealed in ways that seem exactly right."—The New York Times Book Review

"[E]nthralling . . . positively Shakespearean . . . [A] book of troubling marvels."—The Memphis Commercial Appeal

"As intriguing as the densely interwoven lives of [her] fascinating cast is Alison's literary use of the water that surrounds them . . . The Marriage of the Sea is soap opera en aqua, where the watery surrounds become a metaphor for the fluidity of human life . . . [F]lows with stylistic brilliance."—The Baltimore Sun

"[O]ne of those novels that the reader knows is literature from the very first page."—Islander

"[A] beautiful . . . and affecting novel . . . The prose is lovely and vibrant, its observations precise and revealing . . . The sort of pleasure that many writers do not or cannot achieve."—Edmonton Journal

"Readers of Alison's wondrous bringing to life of Ovid (The Love-Artist) will find here the same highly controlled lushness in a contemporary story that starts slowly but gains power. . . . Ambitious, complex, challengingly intellectual—and yet Alison manages it all with a clarity, learnedness, and rigor that bring into being a creation of real beauty, albeit also of sorrow. Hers is a real and significant attempt, and a real achievement."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"It is Alison's razor-sharp technique for incorporating the essence of her backdrop into the p0personalities dominating her fiction that makes this a uniquely flavored novel drawn from a refined talent."—Booklist

"Alison's poetic sensibility reveals itself in lyrical, intense prose and surprising juxtapositions. Each character's feverish thoughts rise to a crescendo of emotional turmoil and release, and in the process, carry the reader on a sinuous journey of discovery."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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The Marriage of the Sea
Begin readingMax landed in New Orleans like a sprinter. His cab barreled over the toxic empty highway into town, the battered streets and battered sidewalks and battered, crooked houses. He'd chosen the most romantic hotel, just beyond the Garden District, lopsided and seedy. Once he'd checked in he ran up the staircase, noting with delight the stained glass promise in the window: Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits! Then he had barely put down his bag, barely phoned Sea & Air to provide a temporary number (should his fur teacup and cookbooks
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Jane Alison

  • Jane Alison is also the author of the novel The Love-Artist. She lives in Germany.
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