"Exotic...erotic... Ocean Sea is highly romantic and breathtakingly lyrical."--The New York Times Book Review
With Silk, his first novel to appear in English, Alessandro Baricco immediately proved himself to be a magical storyteller. With Ocean Sea, he has been acclaimed as the successor to Italo Calvino, and a major voice in modern literature.
In Ocean Sea, Alessandro Baricco presents a hypnotizing postmodern fable of human malady--psychological, existential, erotic--and the sea as a means of deliverance. At the Almayer Inn, a remote shoreline hotel, an artist dips his brush in a cup of ocean water to paint a portrait of the sea. A scientist pens love letters to a woman he has yet to meet. An adulteress searches for relief from her proclivity to fall in love. And a sixteen-year-old girl seeks a cure from a mysterious condition which science has failed to remedy. When these people meet, their fates begin to interact as if by design. Enter a mighty tempest and a ghostly mariner with a thirst for vengeance, and the Inn becomes a place where destiny and desire battle for the upper hand. Playful, provocative, and ultimately profound, Ocean Sea is a novel of striking originality and wisdom.
Ocean Sea 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
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.
More than 1 year ago
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!