Some early love on Pub Day Eve
It’s the day before Sea Creatures makes its way into the world, and I am much obliged to many people, including these reviewers who gave my little book press before it even hit the shelves.
There’s a charmer at the heart of “Sea Creatures,” and it’s not the novel’s narrator, Georgia, who is plenty likable in her own admittedly stumbling, searching way.
It’s her 3-year-old son, Frankie, whose refusal to talk has begun to weigh on Georgia’s marriage to the boy’s father, Graham. It weighs on the reader, too, as Frankie is recognizably bright, playful and inquisitive, but never quite ready to connect verbally.
This is Susanna Daniel’s second novel after her first, “Stiltsville,” won the PEN/Bingham Prize for outstanding debut fiction. In “Sea Creatures,” she returns to the waters around Miami, including Stiltsville, the odd, somewhat forlorn outcropping of homes on pilings in Biscayne Bay.[Read the full review.]
And from Gina Webb, this great review of Sea Creatures made it into Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Florida native Susanna Daniel (Stiltsville) returns to the watery world of her first book with the story of a young mother navigating the responsibilities and risks of parenthood.
In the summer of 1992, Georgia Quillian, her husband Graham, and three-year-old Frankie moved from Illinois to make a fresh start in her hometown of Coral Gables, Fla. Eight years later, Georgia relives that summer, and in the course of Sea Creatures (Harper, $25.99), the events that led up to it.[Read the full review on Gina’s website.]
It will end too soon, but you’ll tear through this utterly enthralling novel anyway. You won’t be able to help yourself. The plot sounds fanciful: While living on a Miami houseboat with her husband, who can’t sleep, and their young son, who can’t or won’t speak, a woman takes a job with a mysteriously reclusive artist. But the story is very real—it’s about love, loss, and longing in their most familiar forms. Brace yourself: you’ll fall hard for the characters, and your heart will break preemptively—even before the hurricane blows through.
Sandee Suitt wrote this lovely piece for the Daily News Journal:
“Sea Creatures” is perfect for summer reading, a more literary offering than your usual beach fare. Author Susanna Daniel crafts beautiful, dreamy descriptions of ocean life that threaten to lull readers into a sense of complacency. But as her characters find their motives and rationalizations stripped away by a vicious undertow, Daniel’s clever writing style reflects the tension with the gently, lapping waves giving way to rushing, swirling, crashing walls of water.[Read the full review.]
Last but not least, I was *thrilled* to be featured last week in Madison’s own Isthmus alongside Madison debut author Kelly Harms, whose debut novel The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane came out earlier this month. A big thank-you to Jennifer A. Smith, for her coverage of Sea Creatures *and* for this feature she wrote about mine and Michelle’s brand-spanking-new writing workshop, the Madison Writers’ Studio.
I’m so grateful, too, to my talented friend Ryan Murphy, who took my fancy official photos — photos that make me happy each time they’re posted or printed. Considering that he’s also taken the best photographs I own of both of my children, I really don’t know what I would do without him!