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All at Sea

A Memoir

Decca Aitkenhead


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Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (12/20/2016)
Paperback (7/11/2017)
MP3 CD (12/20/2016)


All at Sea is a remarkable story of love and loss, of how one couple changed each other’s life, and of what a sudden death can do to the people who survive.
On a hot, still morning on a beautiful beach in Jamaica, Decca Aitkenhead’s life changed forever. Her four-year-old son was paddling peacefully at the water’s edge when a wave pulled him out to sea. Her partner, Tony, swam out and saved their son’s life—then drowned before her eyes.
     When Decca and Tony first met, a decade earlier, she was a renowned Guardian journalist profiling leading politicians of the day; he was a dreadlocked criminal with a history of drug dealing and violence. No one thought the romance would last, but it did—until the tide swept Tony away, plunging Decca into the dark chasm of random tragedy.
      Exploring race and redemption, privilege and prejudice, All at Sea is a breathtakingly honest, profound, and utterly unforgettable memoir.

Praise For All at Sea: A Memoir

“[A] sensational, devastating story ... All at Sea is more than the recounting of a freak accident and its consequences. It is a thoughtful and provocative rumination on love, family and grief. Where When Breath Becomes Air offered a dying man’s perspective on mortality, All at Sea offers a widow’s perspective on survivor’s guilt ... A bracing and valuable reminder of the vagaries of fate that can leave you feeling unaccountably grateful—not only for your own relative serendipity, but for the wisdom borne of Aitkenhead’s grit.”
—Washington Post

"A heart-wrenching tale of race, unlikely love, and how grief changes everything. It’s unforgettable."

"A tour-de-force ... Aitkenhead is rigorously unsentimental and unsparingly honest ... No one who reads her brave and eloquent book will ever forget endearing Tony or their incandescent love story."
—Boston Globe

“An inspired portrait of [an] unconventional love story—he a drug-dealing ex-con, she an intellectual free spirit—stretching across lines of class, race, family history, and temperament. This is a star-crossed yet triumphant tale."

“Aitkenhead’s memoir is a rare book to surface this summer: unsentimental, but still entirely heartbreaking ... Beautifully written and, remarkably, full of hope.”
—Travel + Leisure

“A love letter . . . written in as heart-stopping prose as you are likely to read.” 
—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Nan A. Talese, 9780385540650, 240pp.

Publication Date: August 16, 2016

About the Author

DECCA AITKENHEAD is an award-winning journalist who conducts interviews with leading figures in public life for The Guardian. She lives in rural Kent with her two young sons.