The Story of Land and Sea
A lyrical and spellbinding story of love, loss, and war from a standout new voice in fiction. Katy Simpson Smith has already been acclaimed as an ‘heir apparent to to Michael Ondaatje and Marilynne Robinson’
North Carolina, 1793. When nine-year-old Tab catches yellow fever, her father John steals her onto a boat, hoping the sea air will cure his only child. For comfort, he tells Tab stories about her mother Helen, who died in childbirth.
Two decades earlier, Helen is given a slave girl for her tenth birthday. Moll’s arrival is meant to teach Helen discipline but soon the girls are close confidantes, until the arrival of John, a pirate turned soldier. And as the town is threatened in the dying embers of the Revolution, Helen must decide between a life of security on the family plantation and a sea adventure with the man she loves.
”'Pure pleasure…the best novel I’ve read all year” - Anita Shreve
”'A wonderful novel of heartbreaking grief but also of redemptive hope … In high but warranted praise it very much evoked Marilynne Robinson’s acclaimed GILEAD” - Chicago Tribune (Editor’s Pick)
”'Poignant and intensely lyrical” - NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
‘Smith’s soulful language of loss is almost biblical, and the descriptions of her characters’ sorrows are poetic and moving’ PUBLISHERS WEEKLY -
”'From the start, Ms. Smith’s spare, rhythmic prose captivates Her refusal to serve up false redemption is admirable” - NEW YORK TIMES
”'Smith has a real gift for describing both hope and despair … she is absolutely a writer to watch” - NPR
”'Among the most assured debut novels in recent memory, it heralds the birth of a major new talent” - VOGUE
”'Astonishingly relatable characters” - HUFFINGTON POST