A Seahorse Year
By Stacey D'Erasmo
(Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780618439232, 360pp.)
Publication Date: July 2004
List Price: $24.00*
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Stacey D'Erasmo's new novel, following the highly acclaimed Tea, is a powerful and beautiful book about a pivotal year in the life of a quintessentially modern family. In contemporary San Francisco, an extended family is transformed by the emerging breakdown of a troubled adolescent boy. The lives of those who love Christopher -- his mother, Nan; her lover, Marina; his gay father, Hal; and Christopher's loyal girlfriend, Tamara -- are pushed to the edge by something new in him that mystifies them all. When he runs away, far into the woods of nothern California, their assumptions about themselves and one another are sorely tested. They might not, they discover, be quite so modern as they once thought. Even the dried seahorses on Marina's windowpane rattle unnervingly as if to announce a time like no other.
In precise, lyrical language, A Seahorse Year explores love at the limits of bearability. It is wise about the things we do out of love that often have both redemptive and disastrous consequences. Difficult questions that have all the tough complexity of real life are asked; devastating truths are revealed in the answers.
Michael Cunningham described Tea as "pure and profound, a ravishing book." A Seahorse Year is an even richer, more luminous achievement.