Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye... A Review

An Estranged Father and Son Attempt to Reconcile...
in Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye

As I opened the first few pages of Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye I could almost feel the chill in the air and smell the scent of the sea. The book opens with a prologue where we are sharing a moment on the midnight watch on the ore boat Ragnarok with the wheelsman and the officer in charge, some 20 nautical miles north of the Keweenaw Peninsula in water a hundred and fifty fathoms deep. There is a quiet to the moment as the captain reflects on the beauty of the sky before them and the birth of his son. There is a sadness to the moment too, as the captain reflects that his son was born just nine days ago, and here he was sailing away... The officer is Olaf, and the son born just nine days ago is Noah. It is their relationship, or lack of relationship, that makes Safe from the Sea such a powerful story. There is a yearning that comes across as Olaf and Noah struggle to reconcile their feelings as Olaf tells his son that he is dying...

From IndieBound... SAFE FROM THE SEA tells the story of Olaf and Noah Torr, a father and son whose long estrangement began after Olaf survived a shipwreck on Lake Superior. More than thirty years after the wreck, Olaf believes he is dying of cancer and asks his son to come home to his isolated cabin on the lake in order to help him die. Over the course of two weeks in November, against the backdrop of the dramatic upper Midwest landscape and weather, the men reconsider each other's lives, finally summoning the courage to confess, understand and forgive.

Noah's father finally tells his son for the first time the harrowing account of the wreck of Olaf's ore boat, the SS Ragnark, a horrible secret from that night, and the survivor's guilt that has dogged Olaf ever since and caused him to abandon his family. Noah's own struggle to make a life with an absent father finds its real reward in his relationship with his sagacious wife, Natalie, whose complications with infertility issues mark her husband's life in ways he only fully understands as the reconciliation with his father takes shape.

The story is powerful, and Peter Geye's writing is wonderful, with the emotionally charged dynamics between father and son, Olaf and Noah, subtlety floating off the pages. The story moves along with vignettes of Olaf and Noah in happier times, as Noah is growing up. It's these vignettes that pack a powerful punch as you contrast them against the present day, and wonder how a relationship can just slip away...

Part of the story in Safe from the Sea deals with Olaf sharing with Noah what actually happened on the Ragnark. When Olaf recounts the terrible wreck of the Ragnark, the ore boat Olaf was officer on, not only was Noah on the edge of his seat listening, so was I! What fantastic storytelling! You almost feel as though you are in that terrible storm, aboard the Ragnark. And that's one of the gifts of Peter Geye's writing- he can paint such meaningful images & feelings with his words.

Take a journey with a father and son as they discover if they have the ability to forgive... in a broken down house deep in the woods... with the memory of the past holding them together. Listen to the story of the shipwreck, the ships that sail the seas, and life onboard a ship... Listen to your heart as Noah also deals with the impending death of his father...

I enjoyed Safe from the Sea so much! Beautiful prose and a wonderful story. I want to thank Caitlin of Unbridled Books for sending along a review copy!

23 comments:

stpand said...

Please enter me, thanks!

http://services.nexodyne.com/email/icon/kZP6YCw8ToE%3D/DrfPGPc%3D/SG90bWFpbA%3D%3D/0/image.png

madwoman-doing-cartwheels said...

The book cover is sure stunning! I haven't read a father/son story in quite awhile. Thanks for the chance!

rubymoonstone at gmail dot com

Linda said...

Sounds like a very emotional read, but worthwhile. Thanks for the giveaway.
lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

Bethie said...

Thanks for the giveaway. Please count me in.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Mary said...

Don't enter me in the giveaway. I bought the book and can't wait to read it (but I must until I read/review a few other books first). Great review, Suzanne :)

debbie said...

This one sounds really good, I would love to read it.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

sunshine9 said...

Peter Geye's debut novel sounds like a winner. Count me in to be a winner too!

LeAnn/sunshine9 at imonmail dot com

Myra C said...

Sounds good and I would love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!

myra0502 @ yahoo.com

Elisabeth said...

Sounds good to me!!

ladybook21@yahoo.com

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a wonderful story.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Cindy W. said...

Beautiful cover art. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy reading. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Smiles,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Michele said...

Please enter me.
Thanks,
mmmtnbike09@yahoo.com

Margie said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks for the giveaway.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Dawn M. said...

I would love the chance to read this book. Count me in, please!

Thanks! :0)
librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Steve Capell said...

I would love to win this giveaway. Thank you so much for hosting this giveaway.

steven(dot)capell(at)gmail(dot)com

Amy said...

First of all, the cover of this book is breath-taking! It's that desolate, frightening beauty that both attracts and repels me. And then the story sound wonderful. I read so many books about women's relationships that it will be nice to read about a father & son and this story sounds well-written and captivating! Please enter me in your giveaway.

Thank you for hosting another great giveaway!

~ Amy
Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

Debbie F said...

Please include me! thanks

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

rubynreba said...

I would really enjoy reading this. Thanks.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

hendy said...

I just love this blog, thanks for another great book giveaway.
hmhenderson At yahoo DOT com

PowerSweepstaking said...

for the wife... she goes through a book a day it seems

weeziestoy said...

Thanks....sounds interesting....

Lisa said...

Always game to read something from Unbridled!

litandlifeATgmailDOTcom

Suzanne said...

Congrats to the winner... Lisa! Thanks to Everyone for entering the Giveaway! The Giveaway has ended, the winner announced and now I've edited this post to highlight the review! Thanks!

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