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Secrets of the Sea


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A breathtaking new tale from Nicholas Shakespeare, who The Times called 'One of our best and truest novelists'.

About the Author

NICHOLAS SHAKESPEARE was born in Worcester in 1957 and grew up in the Far East and Latin America. He is the author of The Vision of the Elena Silves, winner of the Somerset Maugham and Betty Trask awards, The High Flyer, for which he was nominated as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists, and The Dancer Upstairs, selected by the American Libraries Association as the best novel of 1997 and adapted for the film of the same title directed by John Malkovich. His last book was In Tasmania, winner of the 2007 Tasmania Book Prize. He is also the author of an acclaimed biography of Bruce Chatwin.


Shakespeare's quiet and moving fifth novel is a story as brooding and insular as the Tasmanian town in which it is set. Alex Dove, who left remote Wellington Point as a child, returns after college to deal with his deceased parents' failing farm. Merridy Bowman is on leave from university to nurse her dying father, who has moved into a Wellington Point retirement community. The two outsiders forge a relationship (despite the brief but spirited attempt of a townie to win Merridy) and marry, settling on Alex's family farm, where they eke out a modest living. Although the novel's sympathies lie with Alex, it is his ambitious wife who drives the novel. Their struggle to conceive leads to Merridy's unlikely return to her studies and, eventually, to rescuing a mysterious, troubled child from a shipwrecked boat. Trouble, as ever, is in the offing, and when it arrives, Shakespeare allows it to run its natural course without dipping into melodrama. Expertly crafted, the novel illuminates love's craggy depths. (July) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Carefully measured storytelling in this enveloping tale of life's small treasures lost and found" * Sunday Times *
"Beautifully done. It reads absolutely true" * Scotsman *
"An impressive, workmanlike, poignant piece of work: the barren husband and wife in the foreground; a wealth of vividly drawn minor characters behind them; and, framing the whole picture, the great brooding sea, giver and taker of life." * Sunday Telegraph *
"Masterful...a work of rare beauty" * Financial Times *
"A richly evocative tale" * Daily Mail *

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