Mother Sea

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Pub Date 18 May 2023 | Archive Date 18 May 2023

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In an island community facing extinction, can hope rise stronger than grief? Sisi de Mathilde lives on a remote island in the Indian Ocean. With the seas rising, the birth rate plummeting and her community under threat, she works as a scientist, reporting on the rapidly changing local climate conditions to help protect her island home. But her life is thrown into turmoil when she finds herself newly widowed and unexpectedly pregnant. When a group of outsiders arrive and try to persuade her community to abandon the island, Sisi is caught between the sacred 'old ways' of her ancestors and the possibilities offered by the outside world. As tensions rise and the islanders turn on one another, Sisi must fight to save her home, her people and her unborn child.
In an island community facing extinction, can hope rise stronger than grief? Sisi de Mathilde lives on a remote island in the Indian Ocean. With the seas rising, the birth rate plummeting and her...

Advance Praise

'Lyrical, moving, and at times haunting, Mother Sea proves that Wilson is an author to watch out for. The prose drew me in immediately, and I found it hard to tear my eyes away, reading well into the night. This is a book I will be thinking about for a long time. Just brilliant!' — Awais Khan, author of No Honour

'With prose as vivid and colourful as a sunset, Wilson paints a tale that is both timeless and intensely topical. I was mesmerised and moved by the unfolding story and I have never read anything where climate change is felt so corporeally – it affects our environment, but also our bodies, our children.' — Maria Turtschaninoff, author of the Red Abbey Chronicles and Inherited Land

'Complex, rich and beautifully crafted.' — Claire North, author of critically-acclaimed The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

'Lyrical, moving, and at times haunting, Mother Sea proves that Wilson is an author to watch out for. The prose drew me in immediately, and I found it hard to tear my eyes away, reading well into the...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781914148330
PRICE £14.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 38 members

Featured Reviews

a heart wrenching, emotional tale of how an indigenous island community struggles with climate change and medication resistant tetanus. sisi is trying to save her island from disaster; the sea is rising and their crops cannot survive the salt content of the water. when her husband suddenly dies, she finds out that she is pregnant. she has developed an intricate plan in the form of artificial reefs and sea level measuring, yet it is not enough. meanwhile, kit, an englishman, has joined a team of doctors and researchers to study the people of l’ambre. when kit thinks about attempting suicide after his family threatens to abandon him for not studying to become a lawyer, sisi stops him. they develop a friendship. the religion of mother sea is matriarchal, and women as well as nonbinary people govern the island. with the extreme infant mortality rate, the white english people urge the native population to relocate, leaving their island and everything they own behind to start anew.

masterfully written and beautifully crafted, “mother sea” is a work of art that tackles the impact of climate change on indigenous populations. haunting and beautiful, wilson writes of love, family, community, and the preservation of both culture and land. each character has a distinct voice, with all my love going towards each and every one of them. the nonbinary representation is truly phenomenal. this novel left me with many thoughts i will ponder on for a long time. we need to combat climate change and support those who are affected by it more than others.

thank you so much to netgalley and the publisher for an arc copy in exchange for an honest review!

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This is one of those books that I can't adequately review.
The more I try put words together, the harder it is.
It's beautifully written, and at times very moving.
I felt for those people unwilling to give up their home despite everything.
Very well done.

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Thank you Fairlight Books for the opportunity to read rate and review this arc which is available May 18,2023.

Wow. What an incredibly powerful and moving story! It hits on climate change, being a mother, balancing modern society with the traditions of her people. Sisi’s battle to save her home, her people and her unborn baby was eloquently written. Highly recommend

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A gorgeous and moving book, "Mother Sea" has some of the most beautiful line-level prose I've had the pleasure of reading. I enjoyed the island setting and the nuance with which the author discusses grief.

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Mother Sea was an incredibly interesting ride on the emotional train. This book is filled with so much suffering and hope, it definitely needs a trigger warning. The writing was very poetic and beautiful, the author captured the raw emotions of the characters very well.

Sisi is a scientist trying to convince both herself and the people on her island they need the help of scientific advances while still holding onto the culture of the island. After tragedy strikes those closest to Sisi she starts to question her way of thinking.

Kit is a transplant to the island who is there to recover from his inner demons. At the beginning of the story Kit is in a very dark place but slowly the island and his blooming friendship with Sisi pull him out just in time for him to help others.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this lovely book.

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How do you reconcile faith and science when both fail you?

A tiny, remote island grappling with climate change, globalization and infant mortality finds itself on the brink, its tiny population fragmented as an Administrator with a hidden agenda comes to the island. Torn between science and tradition, Sisi believes that both are crucial to the survival of their people, but as crops continue to wither and infants continue to succumb to an antibiotic resistant disease, she finds herself under increasing scrutiny and staring down the barrel of losing everything she holds dear.

A story about how the climate crisis affects the most vulnerable populations shouldn't be a unicorn, but it is. Brother Island may be fictional, but the problems faced by its people are all too real...coastal storms, crop failures and saltwater intrusion coupled with food insecurity and exploitation under the guise of protection.

I thought the story was excellent, my heart hurt for Sisi, especially when her beloved community turned on her for trying to do the right thing although their grief was understandable. Every character was so nuanced and well fleshed out that even when they made questionable choices, you could see the hurt that put them on that trajectory.

Kit's story started off feeling like nothing more than a distraction, but became increasingly compelling as the story progressed and he grew into himself, especially when confronted with the choice between his family and his personal values.

I liked the ambiguous ending and the fact that while there were hints of a potential romance, the focus was on Sisi's relationships with her family and her community. In real life there are no easy answers and the choices we make don't necessarily lead to the solutions we hope for, and so while I enjoy a happy ever after as much as anyone, sometimes reality suits better than fairytales.

The paternalistic and exploitative nature of the foreign administration, pretending to act in the best interest of the community while secretly selling them out was infuriating, but ultimately unsurprising for anyone who lives in a small island.

This would make an excellent book club read because its the kind that lends itself very well to discussion, to interpretation, where there are no right answers but everybody will take something different from it.

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This story was absolutely heart-wrenching, haunting and beautiful. At the present moment, I cannot put into words the indelible impression this book has left on my soul. This short review is but a placeholder for a longer review to come once I have had some time to put my thoughts in order. To be edited and ammended later.

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