Authors & Events
Gifts & Deals
Aug 23, 2016
| ISBN 9780307739551
Aug 18, 2015
| ISBN 9780385533539
Also available from:
Aug 23, 2016 | ISBN 9780307739551
Aug 18, 2015 | ISBN 9780385533539
The twelve stories in this essential collection comprise the best of Valerie Martin’s long and distinguished career. Celebrated for her unflinching exploration of human morality and her astonishing insights into our shared losses and joys, Martin draws on an extraordinary range of genres and settings, shifting from realism to myth, from past to present, from the Louisiana bayou to the streets of Rome and beyond. In these stories, Martin mines her three literary preoccupations—animals, artists, and metamorphoses—to unforgettable effect. In “The Consolation of Nature,” a family battles a giant rat that has invaded their home. “The Open Door” follows an American poet in Rome, forced to choose between her lover and a world so new it takes her breath away. In “Et in Academic Ego,” a seventeen-year-old bayou orphan falls in love with a centaur who transforms her life. And the title story conjures up a hideous mermaid who fatally seduces a fisherman. Sophisticated, incisive, deeply felt and always surprising, Sea Lovers showcases the enduring work of an indispensable writer.
From the bestselling author of Mary Reilly and the internationally acclaimed Property, a brilliant collection featuring Valerie Martin’s finest short stories to date. For four decades Valerie Martin has been publishing novels and stories that demonstrate her incredible range as a writer, moving between realism and fantasy while employing a voice that is at once whimsical and tragic. The twelve stories in this collection showcase Martin’s enviable control, precision, and grace and are organized around her three fictional obsessions—the natural world, the artistic sphere, and stunning transformations. In “The Change,” a journalist watches his menopausal wife, an engraver, create some of her eeriest and most affecting works even as she seems to be willfully destroying their marriage. In “The Open Door,” an American poet in Rome finds herself forced to choose between her lover and a world so alien it takes her voice away. “Sea Lovers” conjures up a hideous mermaid whose fatal seduction of a fisherman provides better reason than Jaws for staying out of the water. In “The Incident at Villedeau” a respected gentleman confesses to killing his wife’s former lover, an event that could be construed as an accident, an impulsive act, or a premeditated crime. Exploring themes of obsession, justice, passion, and duplicity, these drolly macabre stories buzz with tension.
Valerie Martin is the author of 11 novels, including The Ghost of the Mary Celeste, The Confessions of Edward Day, Trespass, Mary Reilly, Italian Fever, and Property; four collections of short fiction; and a biography of Saint Francis of Assisi entitled Salvation. She has been awarded grants from… More about Valerie Martin
“Complex and wonderful.” —The New York Times Book Review “Valerie Martin is a consummate stylist. A cool, spare writer who can make the fantastic utterly, often horribly believable.” —The Boston Globe“Revelatory. . . . Distinguished by an alluring precision. . . . Exact and provocative.” —Jane Smiley, The Guardian (London) “Elegantly ruthless. . . . Valerie Martin dissects the inner lives of men and women (not to mention one chilling mermaid).” —More “Captivating. . . . Martin’s writing is a reward in itself, a wonderful precision-tool. She uses it to chisel at the human condition—and the effect is astonishing.” —Financial Times “Exceptional. . . . This immaculate collection spans Martin’s career from the tight and serious ambition of her youth, through a wittier, more playful phase investigating creativity through stories about music and painting as well as writing.” —Daily Mail “Enthralling. . . . The prose is grounded in precision and certainty, it’s a steady navigation system, and cantilevers the most remarkable flights of fancy with what we recognize as all-too-human behavior.” —Chronogram “Varied, engaging, and often shocking. . . . An insightful look into the evolution of Martin’s writing and her talent for depicting our darker natures.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred) “This collection is rife with the unspoken cracks between people, and leaves a haunting, lingering impression.” —Publishers Weekly
Visit other sites in the Penguin Random House Network
Stay in Touch