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Friday, July 13, 2018

Book Review: The Sea Beast Takes a Lover: Stories by Michael Andreasen

The Sea Beast Takes a Lover: Stories
by Michael Andreasen
27 Feb 2018
General Fiction (Adult)

An astonishing fiction debut from a UC Irvine MFA graduate and recent contributor to The New Yorker.

Bewitching and playful, with its feet only slightly tethered to the world we know, The Sea Beast Takes a Lover explores hope, love, and loss across a series of surreal landscapes and wild metamorphoses. Just because Jenny was born without a head doesn't mean she isn't still annoying to her older brother, and just because the Man of the Future's carefully planned extramarital affair ends in alien abduction and network fame doesn't mean he can't still pine for his absent wife. Romping through the fantastic with big-hearted ease, these stories cut to the core of what it means to navigate family, faith, and longing, whether in the form of a lovesick kraken slowly dragging a ship of sailors into the sea, a small town euthanizing its grandfathers in a time-honored ritual, or a third-grade field trip learning that time travel is even more wondrous--and more perilous--than they might imagine.

Andreasen's stories are simultaneously daring and deeply familiar, unfolding in wildly inventive worlds that convey our common yearning for connection and understanding. With a captivating new voice from an incredible author, The Sea Beast Takes a Lover uses the supernatural and extraordinary to expose us at our most human.

This is me every time I try to write a review for this book. I can say I loved it. Some stories more than others, but all eleven of the short stories will make you double-take on what you thought you just read. 

Here is my inner-monologue while reading each story:
What an imaginative story. I wonder where the author is going with...wait, WTF? That's deep...the author isn't going to go there, is he? Oh, snap...he did.
I guess I would call it soft-bizarro...or Black Mirror-esque... Take a read of the blurb and you'll get an idea of the fantastical nature of the stories.

Not only are the stories thought-provoking, the writing is amazing with a poetic cadence in some stories. Andreasen takes the reader on a voyeuristic adventure of his characters. Some you'll be glad you witnessed, some will make you uncomfortable...but you will turn the page, unable to look away.

4 "headless" Sheep


About the Author:
Michael Andreasen holds a Masters degree in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, McSweeney's, Tin House, Zoetrope: All-Story, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. He lives in Southern California.  His first book, The Sea Beast Takes a Lover, was published in the US by Dutton Books in February 2018 and will be published in the UK by the Head of Zeus in March 2018.

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