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Posted June 28, 2001
Alessandro Baricco's Ocean Sea is a lyrically beautiful, but cruel, allegory of the secret hopes, dreams, fears, quests and horrors that drive us all and often, against our wishes, consume our lives. And, no matter how hard we deny it, there comes a time in every person's life when he or she must confront his deepest, darkest secrets, a time when they can no longer be suppressed. For it is only when we confront our fears and our obsessions, our hopes and our dreams, and yes, even our horrors, that they lose their power over us and we are finally restored to wholeness. Alessandro Baricco has assembled a cast of broken, disparate characters, each seeking the restorative powers of the ocean sea, that elusive place where fantasy meets reality, where love and horror become inexorably woven into the fabric of life. Baricco's prose is certainly not the flowery, overwrought 'purple prose' of Anne Rice or Michael Ondaatje. Instead, it evokes the lyrical skeletalness of Debussy--beautiful and difficult, yet barely there, like the edge of the sea, itself. Savigny's narrative, in Book II, is one of the finest examples of the power and beauty of language I have ever encountered. If I have any criticism of Ocean Sea, it is the fact that the ultimate fate of Professor Bartleboom did not seem in character with the savage beauty evoked in the rest of the book. I almost felt as though I had been dropped inside another story altogether. But allegory is difficult to write and even more difficult to read, and Ocean Sea is no exception. I doubt that anyone alive can absorb this exquisite book's impact in only one reading. Like Silk, another of Baricco's works, Ocean Sea is a masterpiece. A small, but flawless, gem that will astound you and haunt you, but will never, ever let you alone.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 14, 2000
This book was a random selection from the bookstore shelf one afternoon. I do not regret it. This book was absolutely fabulous and I recommend it to anyone who delights in experimentation with plot, vocabulary, and syntax. Absolutely extraordinary!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.