Sometimes a day comes along in life that is so perfect and shiny that you know you will carry it around with you always. That's what Guy thought of the day that he spend in a idyllic field with his wife, Judy, and daughter, Freya. Guy was right, he would carry that day around with him for the rest of this life, but not for the reason he thought. Jeremy Page's Sea Change is an exquisitely written novel about how one moment, one day, can change absolutely everything.
“When it comes down to it, there’s no sense, no plan, no shape to things. They just occur. They occur and then you carry on, because time carries on, you change, you adapt, you just have to.” (pp. 164-165)
We pick up five years after that tragic day to find Guy living on a barge in the waters off of East Anglia. His daughter gone and his marriage ended, Guy is unable to move on with his own life. He lives on the barge and hides on the sea, hoping it will wash away his grief. Each night he sits and he writes in his diary about a parallel universe in which his daughter is still alive, his marriage still intact. His family blossoms and grows in his diary as he attempts to reclaim all that he lost. When a woman and child, also grieving the loss of someone near and dear to them, enters his life, Guy begins to wonder if maybe life does go on.
Sea Change is not a novel that you will rush through, flipping pages to see what happens next. It will force you slow down and immerse yourself in it bit by bit, like a person slowly wading into the cold ocean. It is a novel of grief and depression, but there's also light and hope. Life doesn't turn out the way we expect it to and nor will this book.
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