Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel presented itself as the awaited opportunity to discover the writer I heard so often about … yes, you guessed it, I refer to her other book, Station Eleven. I avoided to read Station Eleven as much as I could, simply because I did not want to read about a pandemic while living one.

All it took was a short “book hunting” session on NetGalley, a very fast click on the Request button, few hours of super engaging reading … and voilà!

Sea of Tranquility in a nutshell

Sea of Tranquility is a sci-fi story about a time-space anomaly. The action of the book is split between multiple narratives and centuries. Just to give you a flavour of the time span – Edwin is living in the 1900s in British Columbia; Olive and Gaspery are living on the Moon, but in 2200s and 2400s. What a mind-bending journey, isn’t it?

Even if it sounds geeky at first, the story is super readable and accessible even for non sci-fi readers as me. The book is not only about time travel, but also about humanity, purpose and loneliness, and doing the right thing.

My overall impression

I enjoyed reading Sea of Tranquility, especially because of the mysterious and captivating topic of parallel worlds. Mandel takes the reader on a wonderful journey, guiding him/her back and forth in time.

While reading this book is impossible to not ask yourself philosophical questions, such as: What if the whole world is a simulation? What if what we call “coincidence” is actually not happening by chance? Just sayin’ 🙂

On a side note, I’d say Sea of Tranquility is not a pandemic book, but there’s some energy directed towards pandemics – if you want to avoid this theme, then this book is not for you.

Living on the Moon

My favourite sections were the ones about living on the Moon. On one hand, it was fascinating to see how Mandel imagined the lunar cities, e.g. with artificial light domes to imitate sunlight. On the other hand, living on the Moon did not solve social inequality and inadequate governance.

By the way, did you know that The Sea of Tranquility (Mare Tranquillitatis) is the landing site of Apollo 11 mission, where Louis Armstrong stepped on the Moon for the first time?


Sea of Tranquility joins the list of books I recommend reading. It is centered around time travelling, but that’s not all – other non sci-fi layers are nicely intertwined to create a captivating story. Plus you can even read in one sitting if you have an entire afternoon free 🙂

Did you read any books focused on time travel? Please let me know if you have good recommendations!

If you would like to buy books or other (non)bookish things, please consider using one of these links: Amazon | Waterstones | Carturesti. Thank you!

‘Till next time … happy reading!


PS: I received a digital copy of this book at my request, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. My review expresses my own thoughts about the story and it is not influenced in any way by the publisher or the author. The book is published on April 28th, 2022.

4 thoughts on “Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel (book review) – time travelling and life on the Moon

  1. Wonderful review that makes me look forward to reading the book. I wasn’t a fan of The Glass Hotel but a fellow reader recommended Mandel’s sci-fi debut novel, Station Eleven (which I still have to read). Will definitely look forward to Sea of Tranquility.

    Liked by 1 person

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