cover image In the Beginning Was the Sea

In the Beginning Was the Sea

Tomas Gonzalez, trans. from the Spanish by Frank Wynne. Pushkin (, $18 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-78227-041-6

Gonzalez's first novel to be translated into English introduces Elena and J., lovers who no longer enchanted by their wild and bohemian lifestyle in the city. J.'s solution is for them to buy property on an obscure island and live self-sufficiently in a paradise of their own. They're convinced their intellectual and artistic pursuits will be enough to keep them satisfied, and thus they set out to sea with a stack of books, a prized sewing machine, and naively high hopes. Shortly after arrival, their Eden becomes a disaster of relentless torrential rain, arguments, and desperate sex%E2%80%94most occurring from or resulting in drunken stupors. Eventually, the couple realizes they must leave or be swallowed up by the shining, insidious sea. Gonzalez poetically and comically captures the inevitable destruction of those who live in a world of fantasy and hubris, depicting beauty and despair by turns. (Feb.)