Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Language of the Sea

The Language of the Sea

A Novel

James MacManus

Thomas Dunne Books




A lyrical and affecting family drama reminiscent of The Shipping News which challenges readers to re-examine their perception of nature

A striking blend of realism and contemporary myth-making, this unforgettable novel tells the story of marine biologist Leo Kemp. Having lost his teaching position thanks to outspoken views, Leo decides to go on one last field trip with his students. The outing becomes disastrous when the weather turns and Leo is thrown overboard. The evocative description of Leo's journey explores what can happen beyond our perceived knowledge of science. James MacManus tests the bounds of reality with his cunning narrative set within the beautiful community of Cape Cod.


This was the best time, the time before the tourists arrived in their hundreds of thousands, the time when the winter gales had stopped battering this bent arm of land thrust into the Atlantic, a time when...


Praise for The Language of the Sea

“An ambitious and original debut novel set in a twilight zone between the thinking and unthinking realms. MacManus's vision, with its powerful narrative undertow, draws you down into the ocean's unseen currents…An atmospheric novel in which ideas surge upon the shoreline, creating a bracing place to build stories like sandcastles.” —The Times (U.K.)

“This is one of those rare things, a passionate book, written with feeling. Gripping drama plus well-drawn characters and a wonderfully absorbing and moving read.” —Daily Mail (U.K.)

“Borrowing from the old Scots folk tale of the skelpies, it's an expert and beautifully-crafted piece of work.” —News of the World (U.K.)

“The sea in all its majesty, wonder, terror and secrecy, is the real star of this illuminating, learned novel.” —The Daily Mirror (U.K.)

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

James MacManus

JAMES MACMANUS is the Managing Director of the Times Literary Supplement. His first book, Ocean Devil, was made into a film starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The Language of the Sea is his first novel.

James MacManus

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From the Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

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