Cover Image: Tides


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

An intoxicating, compact debut novel by the winner of Columbia’s Henfield Prize, Tides is an astoundingly powerful portrait of a deeply unpredictable woman who walks out of her life and washes up in a seaside town.

After a sudden, devastating loss, Mara flees her family and ends up adrift in a wealthy seaside town with a dead cellphone and barely any money. Mired in her grief, Mara detaches from the outside world and spends her days of self-imposed exile scrounging for food and swimming in the night ocean. In her state of emotional extremis, the sea at the town's edge is rendered bleak, luminous, implacable.

As her money runs out and tourist season comes to a close, Mara finds a job at the local wine store. There, she meets Simon, the shop's soft-spoken, lonely owner. Confronted with the possibility of connection with Simon and the slow return of her desires and appetites, the reasons for her flight begin to emerge.

Reminiscent of works by Rachel Cusk, Jenny Offill, and Marguerite Duras, Tides is a spare, visceral debut novel about the nature of selfhood, intimacy, and the private narratives that shape our lives. A shattering and unforgettable debut.
Was this review helpful?
Mara is devastated by loss. In the torment of her grief she leaves her home and drifts into a seaside town, surviving on scraps and swimming alone at night. Once the season ends, she find work in a local wine shop and connects with the lonely manager Simon. Slowly, Mara comes to terms with the possibility of a new beginning. 
This novel is a real, visceral depiction of life after loss and a journey of recovery, discovering a reason to live again. This is a mesmerising introspective and deeply intimate, the characters pour grief and sadness out from the first page. If this is Canadian writer Sarah Freeman’s debut novel, I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Many thanks to NetGalley for the advanced audiobook, brilliantly read by Amy Rutherford at Recorded Books.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Net Galley for the audio of this novel for an honest review.

I believe this is a fictional debut for this author (she does have several non-fiction educational books on Good Reads but no other fiction).

As a debut I always give 2 stars.  I admire so much anyone who manages to get a book completed and published.  Sadly with this audio I would only add 1/2 a star for a total of 3.75
I requested this book to review as in my career as a midwife I sometimesI saw women with pregnancy loss and know how devastating that can be.  I was interested to see how this author would handle such a difficult topic.  

The book is about a woman who loses herself both mentally and physically after what sounds like a stillbirth, though the actual details around the loss are only alluded to and never described at length.  A lot of the details are fuzzy as this woman is the only POV we get throughout the novel and she is mostly working to forget what happened and her present state.  She decides to leave her husband and home and go off to be alone.  From that start,  the story covers the next 8 months as she comes to terms with her grief and how she holds herself responsible for what happened.

What made this story so difficult for me was how unlikable this character became throughout.  The choices she made, both the leaving and the punishing she did to herself while understandable at first become less so as time when on.  It is never fun to watch/read about a person on a self destroying bent.  Her grief was a wonderful rationalization at first but she never moved toward any real self examination.  After awhile I began to feel this woman was wallowing in her sadness and seeing her life as a drama where certain elements or events were necessary.  I wanted to see some resolution for this character, some moving forward but I only learned more about what a despicable person she is/was, and one without much personal self respect.  

So while it is a story that I found at times sad, depressing and occasionally annoying, (just listening to this woman's thought processes and the decisions made, made me want to shake her at times), it did have some great instances of lyrical writing that I had to admire.  It was a hard book to listen to both for the prolonged single narrator, you see everything through this woman's eyes and spend much of that time inside her internal dialogue, and this is primarily grief influenced.   An intense novel that made more sense as it went along and was well crafted.  It is a character study that is light on plot.  I wish I had been able to engage with it more.  A novel I find difficult to recommend due to the intensity of its narrator and how it made me feel while listening to it.  Might be better in print.
Was this review helpful?
In Tides, we follow the narrator as she spends a while in a small town after a devastating personal loss. The plot takes a step back while we go through the emotions with Mara, the protagonist. We hear about her past while she tries to make sense of the current. This book was well written and well narrated and left me feeling somber. I will check out anything Sara Freeman puts out next even though I don't think this story will stay with me for very long. 
Thank you to Netgalley and Recorded books for the copy!
Was this review helpful?
'Tides' by Sara Freeman, narrated by Amy Rutherford

Thank you to NetGalley and RB Media, Recorded Books for an audio-ARC for my honest review.

We follow Mara, the main character in this book, who has suddenly run away from her family as she mourns  the stillborn death of her baby. It shows the journey she takes in coming to terms with her grief. 

The narrator was excellent, she takes us on Mara's  journey so realistically.

My review has been posted to Goodreads. 

#Tides #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.  It finished the book, but kept wondering "what is the point?"  I am convinced that this type of book is not for me. Unfortunately, this genre seems to be a trend.  Please give me a story with a proper plot.  I really don't care for stream of consciousness. This was a yawn!!!
Was this review helpful?
After a loss leaves Mara unable to cope, she flees her old life and ends up in a wealthy seaside town.  With barely any money and no connections to either strangers or her family, Mara scrounges for the bare necessities.  Having no choice but to try and gain employment, Mara gets a job at a cheese and wine shop. The owner, Simon, is almost as broken as Mara, and the pair starts an unspoken alliance.  Will Mara come to terms with her past and move forward with her life?

The author spends so much time on descriptive writing that the plot itself suffered.  Mara is a tragic figure, as she lets her grief overrule good choices and behaviors.  She is not all that likable, though it is hard not to feel bad for the woman.  There is not much to the story and I am disappointed overall, as a result.

The narrator did a good job of conveying the story.  Amy Rutherford lent her voice well to the character of Mara and made her come to life.  That being said, I  probably would not have finished the book had I chosen the printed version.  I did not feel invested in the character and had no connection to her story.  For these reasons, I would be hesitant to recommend Tides to other readers.

Disclaimer: I was given an Advanced Audio Copy of Tides by NetGalley and the publisher.  The choice to read and review this book was entirely my own.
Was this review helpful?
A lyrical, haunting debut featuring a listless and depressed woman escaping from her own life to a small seaside town after suffering a personal tragedy. This novel is an exploration of human urge to both disappear and to be seen by others, the lure of oblivion, and the unforeseen effect of the people we meet who will meet us in our loneliness. 

Thanks to NetGalley and RB Media, Recorded Books for an audio-ARC. I will be featuring this on my TikTok: @alistofreads.
Was this review helpful?
Tides by Sara Freeman  is not an easy novel to like. The main character is a woman, late thirties, leaving her old life behind after a miscarriage. She travels from Canada to a small town on the US coast. She does not take care of herself, lets herself go (with the tides), is quite dirty – not an image we easily accept in society or even in literature. In fact, in the village even those people who pretend to care for her in the end appear to have ulterior motives. The atmosphere is bleak, harsh, distressing. One has to be in the mood for it, and I fear I was not really – I kept thinking that the author wanted to show what grief and deep pain can do, but I didn’t feel it. Admittedly though, towards the end I was rather immersed in the story but ultimately, it was a heavy, sad novel that I was unprepared for. 
Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my review.
Was this review helpful?
Format: audiobook
Author: Sara Freeman ~ Title: Tides ~ Narrator: Amy Rutherford
Content: 4 stars ~ Narration: 5 stars

Novel Tides is a very good debut by Sara Freeman. It tells a story of a woman named Mara who is grieving the loss of her child. Without a plan or even much money, she flees from her hometown to the seaside town of Rome.

Tides is a beautiful novella written in a beautiful language that reads almost like poetry. It consists of short passages that melt into a story. This is not a book for the general reader. But those who like good written, reflective novels that read like someone’s stream-of-consciousness will probably like it.

The narrator was great. With a touch of melancholy in her voice, it suits the novel perfectly.

Thanks to Recorded Books for the ALC and this opportunity! This is a voluntary review and all opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Tides by Sara Freeman is a short and remarkably poetic book, full of lyrical prose that really pulls the reader into Mara’s world. After the loss of her child, Mara moves from Canada to the US in an attempt to disappear from the world. Mara’s grief and isolation is emphasized and made more relatable through the narrator’s bleak and empty tone. 
Despite the beautiful writing, I struggled to pay attention to the story; most of it is Mara’s internal dialogue and how everything that happens to her incites some form of grief or sadness or reminds her how empty she feels. Additionally, I felt the end of the book did not resolve anything, which made me feel there was little meaning to this book.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book. However, the ending fell a bit flat for me? It was great overall however. I did feel the emotion in this book though. I have been there myself and totally get it.
Was this review helpful?
Narrator 5 stars
The narrator was fantastic

Story 3 stars
Sara Freeman is clearly a very talented writer and has an incredible way with words, but the actual story didn't move me. I felt very neutral to the whole thing.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley and RB Media for the copy! Filled with poetic prose, this book is the perfect ally for a cozy winter afternoon under the blankets. The character is woman who tries to overcome a turbulent past by running away to the sea. I loved the realism and the scenes so perfectly crafted it felt that I was almost in that place.
Was this review helpful?
"There's something very wrong with Mara...."

Intense, sorrowful, filled with gripping imagery and poetic prose, Tides will leave you shook. We follow Mara as she floats from one place to the next, barely surviving after great grief that unfolds throughout the story. Struggling in every breath she takes, merely existing, nothing matters, self-destruction. Cringe-worthy encounters and Mara's search for anything that will dampen the pain or make her forget her past, leave her sleepwalking through her life. Simultaneously heartwrenching and disturbing, it's hard not to want to save Mara from her ultimate villain- herself.
Was this review helpful?