An arresting and absorbing novel that spans decades, drawing us into the turbulent lives of a family in Southern California after the sudden death of the father
Beginning in 1962 with a shocking loss, Shining Sea quickly pulls us into the lives of forty-three -year-old Michael Gannon's widow and offspring. Brilliantly described and utterly alive on the page, the Gannon clan find themselves charting paths they never anticipated, for decades to come. Told with a cinematic sweep, Shining Sea transports us from World War II to the present day, crisscrossing from the beaches of Southern California to the Woodstock rock festival, from London's gritty nightlife in the eighties to Scotland's remote Inner Hebrides, from the dry heat of Arizona to the fertile farmland of Massachusetts.
Epic, tender, and beautifully rendered, Shining Sea is the portrait of an American family-a profound depiction of the ripple effects of war, the passing down of memory, the making of myth, and the power of the ideal of heroism to lead us astray but sometimes also to keep us afloat.
|Publisher:||Little, Brown and Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Anne Korkeakivi is the author of the novel An Unexpected Guest. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications in the United States and Britain, and she is a Hawthornden Fellow. Born and raised in New York City, she has lived in France and Finland, and currently resides in Geneva, Switzerland, where her husband is a human - rights lawyer with the United Nations. They have two daughters.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Shining Sea by Anne Korkeakivi is a highly recommended family saga that spans generations. The novel opens with Michael Gannon, 43, family patriarch and Bataan Death March survivor, realizing that he is about to die from a heart attack while finishing painting their California home. The focus then shifts to his widow, Barbara, mother of four: Mike Jr., Luke, Francis, Patty Ann, and pregnant with their fifth child, Sissy, and to Francis, the troubled youngest son. Chapters in the novel open with the dates, chronologically ranging from 1962 to 2015. Each dated chapter then follows either Barbara or Francis and the events that happened to them or the family that year, from their point of view. The time span between chapters can be short or span many years, unlike family sagas that follow a set year by year progression (like Jane Smiley's hundred year's trilogy). While there is insight into family dynamics and the impact loss and war has played in their lives, the only two family members the reader will have any insight into are Barbara and Francis. Barbara's chapters will have more about her children, especially Patty Ann's troubled life, but the insight provided is based on what Barbara sees and experiences. Francis is always on the move, on the run, and an enigma to his family. Shining Sea is well written and the story of the Gannon family, told through the experiences of Barbara and Francis, is captivating. The changing family dynamics over the years is captured along with the attitudes of the changing times. The damage, both physical and psychological, and loss the family experiences are caused by war, either the declared/military or the domestic variety, is poignantly captured. Life rarely turns out how you planned it to; it can be challenging, difficult and full of pain. It can also be full of hope and beauty. I think Barbara captured the acceptance of a situation and the ability to keep moving forward, even though she also chooses to be in denial sometimes. There are a couple drawbacks for me. First is that the other children and characters are not fully developed. Then, there is closure at the end, but it seemed almost too pat. The final niggling thought I have about Shining Sea is not really a problem as it is endemic and what is expected of a family saga, but, at a certain point, if you have lived long enough, you have experienced all they have or more. Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.