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Ocean Sea Paperback – 27 Jul 2000

3.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Paperback, 27 Jul 2000
£62.06 £0.01
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New edition edition (27 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140288023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140288025
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,206,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

In Alessandro Baricco's celebrated debut, it was silk that exerted a fatal attraction. This time it's the ocean, whose watery charms cause an entire cast of characters to convene at the isolated Almayer Inn. The guests include a seductress, an eccentric professor, and a painter with a pronounced penchant for metaphysics. They're soon joined by the beautiful young daughter of a local aristocrat, who's been stricken with a mysterious illness. In a sense, however, all these characters are suffering from maladies--psychological, existential, erotic--which makes the Almayer Inn a kind of Magic Mountain with beachfront footage. The author is a renowned opera critic in his native Italy. Perhaps this accounts for his love of linguistic arias, which can overpower the plot of Ocean Sea. When Baricco gets rolling, of course, his intricately worked prose is a delight. Even the inn itself, situated alone on a promontory, gets the red carpet treatment: "So alone it was there, it seemed a thing forgotten. It was almost as if a procession of inns, of every kind and vintage, had passed by there one day, skirting the coast, when, out of tiredness, one had detached itself from the rest, and, as its travelling companions filed past, it decided to stop on that slight rise, yielding to its own weakness, bowing its head and waiting for the end." At his best, Baricco recalls Italo Calvino--there's the same pleasure in elegant riddles and rococo storytelling. Here and there the narrative of Ocean Sea vanishes down a dead end, and the author's weakness for typographical trickery doesn't help. Still, Baricco's novel remains a refreshing dunk in what Christina Stead called "the ocean of story"--and a brainy exploration of the littoral truth. --Bob Brandeis


Converging at a remote seaside inn are a lovelorn professor, an inscrutable seductress, a renowned painter and a beautiful young girl, seemingly fatally ill. An intricate web of destinies and associations is finally resolved with the arrival of a sailor called Adams.

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5 November 1998
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