Tidesby Sara Freeman
A brilliant newcomer, Henfield prize-winner Sara Freeman debuts with an intoxicating, compact debut novel about a woman who walks out of her life and washes up in a seaside town
After a sudden, devastating loss, Mara flees her family and ends up adrift in a wealthy seaside town with a dead cellphone and barely any money. Mired in her grief, Mara detaches from the outside world and spends her days of self-imposed exile scrounging for food and swimming in the night ocean. In her state of emotional extremis, the sea at the town’s edge is rendered bleak, luminous, implacable.
As her money runs out and tourist season comes to a close, Mara finds a job at the local wine store. There, she meets Simon, the shop’s soft-spoken, lonely owner. Confronted with the possibility of connection with Simon and the slow return of her desires and appetites, the reasons for her flight begin to emerge.
Reminiscent of works by Rachel Cusk, Jenny Offill, and Marguerite Duras, Tides is a spare, visceral debut novel about the nature of selfhood, intimacy, and the private narratives that shape our lives. A shattering and unforgettable debut.
“Brilliant, elegant, and unsparing. Tides is a lyrical meditation on selfhood: Sara Freeman illuminates, with a poet’s eye, the shifting interior landscape of a woman adrift.”—Emma Cline
“I read Tides in two voracious sittings, thrilled by the push-pull of Sara Freeman’s prose: the tightly-controlled surface lyricism barely containing the violent upheaval beneath. Freeman inhabits the mind of her nearly-unhinged narrator so fully that the reader comes to understand — and even identify with — the sometimes twisted logic of grief and unmet longing. Who are we, as women, apart from the ones we love, or try to love? A beautiful, painfully prescient debut from a wildly talented new writer.” —Jamie Quatro
“Body and soul, heart and mind, spirit and ground: in this astonishingly moving, taut debut, Sara Freeman gives us a woman on the edge of her own emotional survival. A thrilling, visceral story of grief and renewal.”—Stacey D’Erasmo, author of Wonderland
“To read Sara Freeman’s Tides is to witness the stunning aftermath of an intimate disturbance—a wave glowing in the dark. As readers we watch the exquisite beauty of its surface and are plunged inside its startling depths. Freeman reminds us of the grandeur and terror of being alive with others in whose company we might luminesce.”—Jennifer Tseng
“A tale of internal exile, of a woman on the lam from her own loved ones and from the memories that cage her. Tides is a marvel — lyrical and suspenseful at the same time.”—Jonathan Dee
“An irresistible debut novel about one woman’s several loves. Sara Freeman writes wonderful sentences, wavy and surprising and full of sensations.”—Christine Schutt
“One of the most carefully written, brave, honest, devastating books I’ve read for a long time. There were lines in it so emotionally accurate and merciless they made me squint up my eyes. It’s explosive. But the effect is the inside-your-body, barely-heard-properly percussive receipt of a detonation felt at a distance.” —Cynan Jones