The Glass Ocean and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 1 left in stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
The Glass Ocean has been added to your Basket
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by the book house
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: This item will be picked, packed and shipped by Amazon and is eligible for free delivery within the UK
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Glass Ocean Hardcover – 1 Aug 2013

4 customer reviews

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£12.99
£1.13 £0.01
£12.99 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 1 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Win a £5,000 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card for your child's school by voting for their favourite book. Learn more.
  • Prepare for the summer with our pick of the best selection for children (ages 0 - 12) across Amazon.co.uk.

Frequently Bought Together

The Glass Ocean + The Luminaries
Price For Both: £19.99

Buy the selected items together


Win a £5,000 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card and 30 Kindle E-readers for your child or pupil's school.
Vote for your child or pupil(s) favourite book(s) here to be in with a chance to win.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (1 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844089479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844089475
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.1 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 712,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

An adventure of dreamlike momentum and romantic intensity, brought alive by a storyteller with uncanny access to the Victorians, not only to the closely-woven texture of their days but also to the dangerous nocturnal fires being attended to in their hearts (Thomas Pynchon)

Dazzling . . . a haunting gem of a novel that subtly makes its mark. In The Glass Ocean, Baker has created a compelling, unforgettable version of Victorian England (Guardian)

Book Description

'The Glass Ocean is that rarest of things, a historical novel, or at least a novel set in history, that is also a work of art. Lori Baker is a captivating story-teller, and her prose has the flash and fire of molten glass' John Banville

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback
Lori Baker's debut novel (she's written three collections of stories previously, none published in the UK) pays tribute to the scientific and geographical explorations of the 19th century, while also exploring a dysfunctional marriage. Baker's narrator, Carlotta the 'ginger giant', is 16, living in 19th-century Whitby. Carlotta tells us the story of her vanished parents Leo dell'Oro and Clotilde Girard, trying to make sense of their disappearance before she herself vanishes to search for them. Leo and Clotilde meet when Leo enlists as a ship's draughtsman with Clotilde's father, an explorer. The only thing the pair have in common is that neither quite belong in England. Leo is an Italian, brought to Whitby (why Whitby not London?) by his father Emilio after Emilio, a goldsmith and sculptor, became obsessed with one of his carvings, who turned out to have a real-life version in the person of a woman from his town. Leo cannot forgive his father for this obsession, and refuses to work in the family jet business. Clotilde is French, the daughter of the famous French explorer Felix Girard. Her mother, weary of Felix's long absences and Clotilde's Electra-complex (manic obsession with her father) has abandoned the family and returned to Paris (there's a lot of abandoning mothers in this book) and Clotilde, brought to Whitby by her father for his geographical explorations there, has decided to travel with him. Leo and Clotilde set off with Felix Girard and his motley crew of explorers (who read like a rather weaker version of the explorers in Conan Doyle's 'The Lost World' and other such books) to try to reach a mysterious island in the Caribbean. The voyage goes horribly wrong, and eventually Leo and Clotilde end up married, back in Whitby, with no money.Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By The Town Caller on 19 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lori Baker's The Glass Ocean explores and measures the many ways in which the human condition bends toward sadness and loss, and how our minds do everything possible to create alternative narratives, to overcome (or explain away) each disappointment, each loss, each devastation. The heartache builds, but also the sense of hope in the face of despair. This is a riveting, emotionally charged work of exceptional craft through which Baker builds profound energy and focus. The intersection of art and science, the natural and the human-made -- this is a beautiful and deeply engaging book of high literary art.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover
You can't really judge a book by its cover recommendations, but when the author endorsements are from Thomas Pynchon and John Banville, it does at least give you some idea of the kind of content and style inside, but it also sets up very high expectations for The Glass Ocean. If it were judged on plot alone, Lori Baker's debut feels like it's over before it's really started, but it's an enthralling piece of writing that just dazzles throughout and leaves you wanting more at the end. If only this were the first installment of the life of the intriguing and compelling character she has created in Carlotta Dell'oro!

Essentially, The Glass Ocean relates little more than the question of how Carlotta - a ginger giantess in Victorian Whitby - became an orphan. That's however is not as straightforward as it might sound, the story related in fragmentary impressions with temporal shifts from the perspective of the 18 year-old Carlotta taking on the presence of her unborn state. Nor is it as complicated as that makes it sound either. While you're waiting for the book to come back to where Carlotta is fleeing at the start of the novel however, you soon become drawn into the horrible fascination of the bizarre non-marriage and eventual disappearance of her desperately mismatched, eccentric and slightly-disturbed parents.

Wrapped up within the very fabric of the work however is her father's obsessive preoccupation with the mysteries of naturalist discoveries, and attempts to replicate them in glass. This feeds very much into the writing itself, which is dreamlike, fragmentary, splintered and reflective, a kaleidoscopic swirl of constantly rearranging pieces.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gaynor on 20 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this because it was well reviewed and promised insights into Victorian life. It seemed detached from Victorian and indeed any life, with most peculiar and unrealistic characters and a vague and unsatisfactory plot - over-rated piffle. Could not finish it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The constructive and destructive power of obsessions 11 Aug. 2013
By B. Case - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Glass Ocean," by Lori Baker, is an intense, arresting, and smoldering story of Victorian obsession. What sparkles in this novel is the wholly original and unbridled, sensory ferocity of its narrator, Carlotta Dell'Oro. The novel is long on lyrical style and short on story, but it is unquestionably worth reading just to gain the unforgettable literary experience of Carlotta's narrative voice. Carlotta's prose is consistent with the Victorian period, yet the odd style belongs wholly to this extraordinarily unique character. You will discover why she is exceptional in bits and pieces as she spins out the story of her family and the tale of their eccentric obsessions. Once you understand this character, you'll feel at ease with how she writes.

The book begins two years after its conclusion. Carlotta is eighteen, it is the early 1860s, and she is an orphan. Carlotta--a six-foot-two-inch, redheaded giantess--is somewhere in the Caribbean; she and another woman are about to embark on a voyage. Carlotta is consumed with writing the history of her father and mother, Leo and Clotilde Dell'Oro. She hopes to discover herself through rediscovering them: the book is the story she writes.

Carlotta has been researching her family history using her father's and grandfather's papers. She pieces together what she can from these sources and fills in the rest using her potent imagination. And oh, what a vivid imagination she has!

Carlotta writes: "There is such complexity in this thing, of orphaning and being orphaned; of leaving and being left behind." But this is a young woman fully ready to take on the complexity of the task. She has inherited a great deal of intelligence, intellectual curiosity, and artistic sensitivity. In addition, she possesses psychological understanding beyond her years. "It is not that I'm angry. They couldn't help themselves, my parents; nor could anyone else have helped them--they were, like all of us, each in our own way, doomed right from the start, just by being who they were."

Up front, Carlotta tells us this about her parents. "The problem is they should not have met at all, at sea or anywhere else, neither on the street nor in a room, in a field, on a beach, he and she, Leo and Clotilde, two opposing elements."

Carlotta's narrative includes the story of her French maternal grandfather, Felix Girard. Formerly a successful and affluent Parisian surgeon, he abandoned his career to follow obsessions with fossil hunting and the polymath collecting of naturalist specimens. His obsession eventually takes him to the fertile fossil hunting grounds of Whitby, England.

Carlotta also tells of her Italian paternal grandfather, an extraordinarily gifted goldsmith who abandoned that calling to follow an obsession with carving stunning, flesh-like, erotic objects of intimate personal significance and intense beauty out of coral. He flees this obsession to carve jet in Whitby.

And what about her father's and mother's obsessions? We discover that Clotilde was a totally self-absorbed woman--a woman obsessed with her own needs, a woman who had little interest for anything except possessing her father's complete love and attention.

And Leo? His obsession (we find out from the author's notes) is the reason why Lori Baker started this novel: she wanted to create a novel very loosely focused on the work of the famous Victorian glassmaker, Leopold Blaschka. So it turns out in Carlotta's story that her father, Leo, has two obsessions: he is obsessed with Clotilde and he is obsessed with fabricating glass replicas of invertebrate marine life. Carlotta describes her father's subjects as "those ephemeral creatures" of the sea, those "soft, struggling, ambiguities that wink, pulse, glow, retort, subside." Leo sees them as "translucent bodies, electrical sparks, fiery snowflakes, palpitating stars. Ephemera. They will be gone by morning: gone, as if they never existed at all." And that is the reason behind his obsession: he is consumed with a passion to capture these ephemeral creatures, seemingly alive, through the artistry of his glass sculpture.

"Glass Oceans" is a difficult book to read. Frequently, I had to look up the meanings of archaic and little-used words (but this is forgivable in a book with a Victorian narrator). What bothered me more was that the book required two readings to understand it fully; that's basically why I am not giving it five stars. It also required a lot of up front knowledge that I didn't have. Between the two readings, I found it necessary to do significant online research. In particular, I examined the visual artistry of Leopold Blaschka. I read Wikipedia articles on the life of Victorian era women, the history of jet carving in Whitby, the history of Whitby fossil findings, the true story behind the Whitby ichthyosaur, and tried to find out everything I could about everyday life in the squalid beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. I recommend this; it helped significantly.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to serious literary readers. It is an exquisite and powerful book...a serial tragedy about obsession and longing.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Modestly ambitious debut 17 Aug. 2013
By Keris Nine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
You can't really judge a book by its cover recommendations, but when the author endorsements are from Thomas Pynchon and John Banville, it does at least give you some idea of the kind of content and style inside, but it also sets up very high expectations for The Glass Ocean. If it were judged on plot alone, Lori Baker's debut feels like it's over before it's really started, but it's an enthralling piece of writing that just dazzles throughout and leaves you wanting more at the end. If only this were the first installment of the life of the intriguing and compelling character she has created in Carlotta Dell'oro!

Essentially, The Glass Ocean relates little more than the question of how Carlotta - a ginger giantess in Victorian Whitby - became an orphan. That's however is not as straightforward as it might sound, the story related in fragmentary impressions with temporal shifts from the perspective of the 18 year-old Carlotta taking on the presence of her unborn state. Nor is it as complicated as that makes it sound either. While you're waiting for the book to come back to where Carlotta is fleeing at the start of the novel however, you soon become drawn into the horrible fascination of the bizarre non-marriage and eventual disappearance of her desperately mismatched, eccentric and slightly-disturbed parents.

Wrapped up within the very fabric of the work however is her father's obsessive preoccupation with the mysteries of naturalist discoveries, and attempts to replicate them in glass. This feeds very much into the writing itself, which is dreamlike, fragmentary, splintered and reflective, a kaleidoscopic swirl of constantly rearranging pieces. There's an impressionistic tone that reflects the subject to a large extent, short sentences hovering and batting about like a hummingbird, paragraphs swelling and heaving like the tide, conversations playing like a game of mirrors reflecting infinity, distorting characters and their mad thoughts to otherworldly larger than life proportions.

A sea of words, a tide of impressions, Lori Banks' writing however is also beautifully poetic and wonderfully descriptive, the writing itself attempting to transmute words into something living. It's far from overblown however, the writing achieving a remarkable precision in its observations, drawing the characters and the source of their obsessions with an economic means of expression. Perhaps too economic for anyone expecting a conventional plot or linear progression, but like any delicately crafted object, the true quality of the beauty, shape and arrangement of the Glass Ocean, its purpose and its intent only becomes apparent when its viewed as a whole, and you only have that when you get to the end. And even then, it still leaves you longing for more.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Craft 15 Sept. 2014
By Stephen T. Hopkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I started to read to read Lori Baker’s debut novel, The Glass Ocean, three different times over the course of several months. Her finely crafted prose, packed with descriptive language, wore me down the first two attempts I made to get into the novel. The third time was the charm. Packed with the atmosphere of the Victorian era in which it is set, I needed to let myself be drawn into that time and setting to allow Baker to work her magic. By the end I was delighted with this story of a woman’s recollections of her life in the mid-1800s. The title refers to the glass objects of sea life crafted by her father. Baker applies a similar attention to detail and craftsmanship in her prose, and patient readers who enjoy finely written literary fiction will be rewarded.

Rating: Four-star (I like it)
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Has to be the worst book I ever read 5 Mar. 2014
By Kelly C. Connell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Why do new authors insist on starting every book with 100 pages of descriptions, such has 2 pages of descriptions of the ocean. Having to get thru all of this was torture. This book is so "wordy" that it puts you off. I enjoy books and read every night, getting thru one page was like being stuck in the mud, one thought goes on and on and on and on. Like spinning your wheels read this book.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know

Look for similar items by category


Feedback