A new literary novel by author Sean Anderson.
Hugo Larson is a retired accountant living in North Seattle. Having recently lost the person most important to him, he attempts to make a life for himself in spite of that gaping absence. While he spends his time swimming, gardening, and accomplishing the mundane tasks of everyday life, he also has several important relationships to manage. Adrian is Hugo’s caring but foolish son, a young man desperately in need of career guidance. Hugo’s brother, Martin, brims with positive energy and a life many would envy: a kind wife, an illustrious teaching career, and a darling granddaughter—but at the implications of retiring. Then there is Paul, a serene next-door neighbor and friend who is haunted by his own loss, who goes on adventures with Hugo through the city. Despite all this, Hugo faces the heaviness of existence, confronts towering questions, embraces and then pushes away those close to him. Through the course of one year, he faces his past, struggles with the present, and questions the future.
What waits for Hugo at the end of that year?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This moving and at times painful but ultimately life enhancing book centres around the subject of grief and how those who have lost a loved one cope or not cope with their bereavement. The book is segmented into chronological monthly chapters following a year in the life of retired accountant Hugo Larson who in January losses his wife after a short terminal illness. We follow Hugo as he follows a carefully mapped out routine and daily tasks knowing that the issue of confronting the loss of the most important person in his life remains untackled and unresolved. He regularly goes to the local bar, where sitting in the same seat he watches his favourite football team ensuring that he only has one drink, he plays chess regularly with his friend Paul, goes swimming and maintains the garden. On the surface he appears to be coping but this is an illusion for underneath he cannot come to terms with his change in circumstances and in reality he is now clinically depressed. The author takes time to patiently demonstrate how Hugo's behaviour slowly but definitively becomes more erratic as his drinking escalates and he pushes away those nearest and dearest to him. The book also looks at how fraught and complicated at times relationships can be as Hugo struggles to come to terms with (in his opinion) his under achieving son and always positive brother. Memory is also a theme here and we see that whereas Hugo now begins to regret when younger not taking a job offer that would have taken him to California the reality is that at the time he absolutely believed that staying in his beloved Seattle with his young family was the right and only decision to be made. Indeed Seattle and its surroundings with the descriptions of its downtown and coastal areas is an integral part of the book. Sean Anderson has produced a work that combines elements of pathos and comedy as well as taking a meaningful and spiritual look at something that many people in their lives have to face. Certainly he has made Hugo a believable character and the emotional rollacoaster of a journey that we follow him take will leave I believe the reader experiencing a range of heartfelt emotions.
Reviewed by Amanda Rofe for Readers' Favorite The Year of Oceans by Sean Anderson is a novel about the grief suffered by one man after the death of his wife. Hugo Larson, a retired accountant living in North Seattle, lives alone and goes through a gamut of emotions in the aftermath of his wife's passing. This book catalogues the emotions this man experiences including anger, loneliness and despair. Despite having family and a good friend living nearby, he struggles with mundane tasks and often sees nothing but gloom in his life. He does have small glimpses of pleasure including music, football and gardening, but these seem transitory. His early life is explored and this narrative mingles with his present older self to provide a clearer picture of the character of the man. Will he eventually be able to come to terms with his wife's death? Grief is a very difficult subject to understand, particularly for those who have not experienced it. In The Year of Oceans, the very profound sense of grief and sorrow suffered by Hugo is palpable. This is a man who has very firm views about many things in life. He eschews digital technology and coffee as two of the many evils in the modern world. Sometimes, his rather taciturn manner makes it difficult to differentiate his true character from his suffering. Those who have gone through a bereavement will undoubtedly identify with this. The protagonist journeys through a varied and complex mix of emotions. His path is well documented with subtle but noticeable changes as the book progresses. Sean Anderson writes a poignant eulogy to grief which will resonate with many people who have gone through a similar experience.