Secrets of the Sea

Secrets of the Sea

Paperback

By (author) Nicholas Shakespeare

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 496 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 31mm | 350g
  • Publication date: 7 August 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099507773
  • ISBN 13: 9780099507772
  • Sales rank: 209,446

Product description

Following the death of his parents in a car crash, eleven-year-old Alex Dove is torn from his life on a remote farm in Tasmania and sent to school in England. When he returns to Australia twelve years later, the timeless beauty of the land and his encounter with a young woman whose own life has been marked by tragedy, persuade him to stay. They marry, and he finds himself drawn into the eccentric, often hilarious dynamics of island life. Longing for children, the couple open their home to a disquieting guest, a teenage castaway, whose presence in their home begins to unravel their tenuously forged happiness.

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Author information

NICHOLAS SHAKESPEARE was born in Worcester in 1957 and grew up in the Far East and Latin America. He is the author of The Vision of the Elena Silves, winner of the Somerset Maugham and Betty Trask awards, The High Flyer, for which he was nominated as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists, and The Dancer Upstairs, selected by the American Libraries Association as the best novel of 1997 and adapted for the film of the same title directed by John Malkovich. His last book was In Tasmania, winner of the 2007 Tasmania Book Prize. He is also the author of an acclaimed biography of Bruce Chatwin.

Review quote

"Carefully measured storytelling in this enveloping tale of life's small treasures lost and found" Sunday Times "Beautifully done. It reads absolutely true" Scotsman "An impressive, workmanlike, poignant piece of work: the barren husband and wife in the foreground; a wealth of vividly drawn minor characters behind them; and, framing the whole picture, the great brooding sea, giver and taker of life." Sunday Telegraph "Masterful...a work of rare beauty" Financial Times "A richly evocative tale" Daily Mail

Editorial reviews

Set in Tasmania, an accomplished love story by British author Shakespeare (Snowleg, 2004, etc.).Shakespeare's perceptive, gently comic and lovingly visual novel charts the evolution of love in an out-of-the-way place - Wellington Point, population 327 - where two people marked by tragedy meet. After Alex Dove's farmer parents were killed there in a car accident when he was 11, he was brought up in England. Returning to Tasmania as an adult to close the farm down, he decides instead to stay. Merridy Bowman, in town to care for her dying father, is scarred by the unresolved mystery of her brother Hector's disappearance when she was a child - an event which caused her to decide she would not allow herself to love again. But Alex's courtship persuades her that love will come and she marries him. Initially happy, the couple starts to drift apart due to barrenness and the farm's shaky finances, until Merridy saves the day by starting up a successful oyster business. One stormy night, Alex rescues a shipwrecked problem teenager, Kish, and the couple tames some of his violence, but when Merridy confuses him with Hector he smashes up their home. Then she falls pregnant and Alex thinks the baby is Kish's. Separation follows, but Kish apologizes for the destruction and Alex chooses to accept and love the child as his own.Although oddly paced and occasionally quirky, this is both a skillful, empathetic tale and an affectionate portrait of a place and its community. (Kirkus Reviews)