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How Far Is the Ocean from Here

Amy Shearn


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“An accomplished and sophisticated affecting portrayal of the lengths people travel for love and companionship.” —Publishers Weekly

Susannah Prue is a young, unmarried surrogate mother who, in the days before her delivery date, panics. Jumping into her car, she flees her Chicago home and a few days later pulls up to a bleak motel in the Southwest—the Thunder Lodge. There, she encounters misfits, much like herself, who also carry secrets: the motel’s terse proprietors, their mentally disabled son, and a woman transporting her niece to the father she’s never met. But when the parents of Susannah’s baby discover her whereabouts, she can no longer ignore the profound power she holds over their lives.

Beautifully written, How Far Is the Ocean from Here explores the ways in which people care for one another and the ways in which they fail, the kinds of families we create when we have no one else to turn to, and the strangeness and unpredictability of love.

Praise For How Far Is the Ocean from Here

“[A] tantalizing novel….Shearn’s mesmerizing language and dramatic flair make this first novel a standout.”
Washington Post Book World

“Amy Shearn’s first novel is a hugely auspicious debut. Sentence by sentence, the writing stays sharp and memorable, and the plot slyly takes us on a road-trip that is both frightening and comic. In a culture where hardly anyone knows what parenting is anymore, this novel has a story to tell on the subject, a story that rises incrementally in speed and momentum, from the first page to the last.”
—Charles Baxter, author of Feast of Love

“Once in a while you read a first novel in which the narrative hand is so steady, the characters so lively and original, that you finish it certain you’ll be hearing a lot more from this author. Amy Shearn’s How Far Is the Ocean From Here is just such a book—funny, engaging, and captivating from beginning to end.”
—Mark Childress, author of One Mississippi and Crazy in Alabama

How Far Is the Ocean from Here is a lyrical storm populated by runaway surrogate mothers, ghost boys, half-girls, haunted caves, desert motels,parents of all stripes, sacred lakes, and swimming pools that swirl and collide until finally getting blown together across America’s highways into an unforgettable conclusion.”
—Samantha Hunt, author of The Invention of Everything Else

“An accomplished and sophisticated affecting portrayal of the lengths peopletravel for love and companionship.”
Publishers Weekly

Crown, 9780307405340, 320pp.

Publication Date: July 22, 2008