Sea Creatures

Susanna Daniel. Harper, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-221960-2
Daniel returns to Stiltsville’s South Florida in a second novel filled with domestic upheaval, difficult choices, and far-reaching consequences. Georgia Quillian and her husband, Graham, move to Coral Gables in 1992 with their selectively mute three-year-old son Frankie in tow, aiming to start afresh after her startup business goes belly up and Graham’s parasomnia (a sleep disorder) threatens to end his career. The two buy a houseboat, Georgia takes a job shuttling supplies to Stiltsville for a reclusive artist 25 years her senior, and Graham gets a second chance at a marine research facility. But their newfound tranquility is shaken when a workup by a specialist links Frankie’s speech problem to Graham’s potentially violent sleepwalking episodes, and the couple’s marriage sinks into murky waters. In contrast to the book’s pleasurably even-keel beginnings, the climax, ushered in by Hurricane Andrew, feels crammed with mayhem and melodrama, and one of the catalysts—Graham’s sleep disorder—begs for more development early on to balance out his eventual fate. Nonetheless, Daniel’s verdant descriptions of salt and sea continue to shine, as does her portrayal of a mother struggling to protect her son. Agent: Emily Forland, Brandt & Hochman. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/06/2013
Release date: 07/01/2013
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-221962-6
Paperback - 311 pages - 978-0-06-221961-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-229564-4
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