There are two oceans, mom used to tell me. There is one that is blue-a clean, bright Disney World blue, which simply is the mirror of a clear sky above. But look at the ocean on a cloudy day, she would say, and here lies the green ocean-the true ocean, full of algae and kelp and slimy creatures, evil lurking in the shadows.
The One True Ocean is a searing "what happened?" novel driven by suspense and tension when a twenty-something artist returns to her abandoned childhood home and begins to dig into her past. In a search for answers to her aunt's suicide and her father's identity, Jenna discovers that her seaside house holds dark secrets that will unravel her family history and shatter the truth she has come to believe.
In this eloquent debut novel, Sarah Beth Martin mixes dark psychology and real emotion with breathless storytelling to explore the deep connections between past and present, love and loss, the dead and the living.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.05(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents?PART ONE
The Origins of Things -23
A More Horrible Death -57
The Rift -83
The Color of Water -111
The Thaw -139
The Calm -203
A Fertile Green -255
Buried Things -269
The Umbilical -281
In the Wake of Green -317
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Beautifully written book of a family in turmoil. The true victims in this book were Angus and his brother Hunter. Adeline was a very selfish and self centered person. Renee was a victim of her sisters jealousy. My heart went out to Jenna being raised by two sisters who couldn't come to terms with their lives.
Told in alternating chapters in the voice of mother Renee and daughter Jenna, this is the story of long buried family secrets and their eventual discovery. Opening in the aftermath of Jenna's young husband's death in a car accident, the narrative unwinds into two seperate threads as Jenna tries to cope with her loss. The first narrative path shows her life as it pushes forward despite grief, as she chooses to move back to Maine to the house she remembers vividly from her childhood and where she once lived with the long-dead beloved aunt she always felt a special kinship towards. The second thread is also triggered by her move as it goes back to the summer that her mother was 14 and 15, the summer that Renee got pregnant with Jenna. Jenna never knew who her father was, having only a name and a very slim tale told by her mother about the man who seduced and left a young girl pregnant. But by moving back to Maine, Jenna uncovers the story not only of her father, but of her aunt's inexplicable suicide even as she forges new, fragile bonds with her mother.The theme of loss and connection, love and grief arch over the entire narrative but they are handled without resorting to cliche or heavy-handed drama. The depth of emotion of the characters feels very authentic and while each revelation about the past may not come as a surprise, it all fits without stretching credibility. On the other hand, there are one or two plot points that do stretch credibility a bit too far. Chief among these are the wallpapered bits of letters that Jenna finds in her mother's old room in her aunt's house. Having the house, its walls, and its hiding spots still contain all the keys to the long hidden secret of Jenna's paternity, as if people still just paper over any previous wallpaper is a bit disingenuous, especially as the building had gone through multiple owners. But if you forgive minor lapses like this, the rest of the novel was almost mesmerizing. I'd be curious to see what else Martin has written.
Okay but very slow
Sarah Beth Martin is a remarkable new voice in contemporary women's fiction. This debut novel is so honest, with such an incredibly compelling and gripping narrative drive, that it's hard to put down once you pick it up. The characters are incredibly well drawn, and their circumstances are so real, so tragic, that it takes your breath away when you learn the secrets that are revealed as the story plays out. I hope Ms. Martin will continue to share her wonderful voice and storytelling ability for years to come. I will certainly recommend this book to everyone I know, and might even read it again to capture moments and passages missed the first time.
The One True Ocean is wonderfully conceived, expertly rendered and a remarkable achievement. While the plot focuses on family secrets and things hidden--both physically hidden, and those areas of the mind we often hide from ourselves--the novel's greatest strengths are rich characters who impact strongly on the reader (certainly they did me), and a prose style which is both lyrical and compelling. The relationship between Jenna and her mother and father as she struggles to cope with the loss of her husband Seth is tense, believable and ultimately touching. All the characters connect in a way that is human and real. Sarah Beth Martin shows a strong sensitivity for the way people really are with each other, as well as a keen sense of story and storytelling. As Jenna's life unravels around her--just as the secrets of her mother's and her own past do--the reader is taken along on a wild emotional ride, culminating in an understanding which, while sad in a way, is very satisfying and rings true.