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Ocean Sea

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  17,821 ratings  ·  1,118 reviews
This haunting, suspenseful tale of love and vengeance by the author of the international bestseller Silk surges with the hypnotic power of the ocean sea.

In Ocean Sea, Alessandro Baricco presents a hypnotizing postmodern fable of human malady--psychological, existential, erotic--and the sea as a means of deliverance. At the Almayer Inn, a remote shoreline hotel, an artist
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 27th 2000 by Vintage (first published March 1993)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,821 ratings  ·  1,118 reviews

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May 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
When I started reading it, I was slightly drunk and my first reaction was, what the f*ck. But now I can add without any exaggeration that Ocean Sea is one of the best books I have ever read.

7 people, Ocean Sea (it deserves capital letters) and Baricco who put literature on higher level. It is possibly the weirdest book I ever had in my hands and it's a book with the best description of life. No, don’t be fooled with popular psychology genre, there is no instant answer and you have to massage yo
There was about a minute when I was a little girl when I wanted to play baseball with the boys, and my dad was trying to teach me some stuff. I was about five when this happened, but I remember one of the first things he said to me was that, “You can’t always swing for the fences.” Which was good advice, because not only did I miss the ball most of the time, but given the size and the velocity at which I swung the bat, more often than not I ended up flat on my butt. But the boys were watching an ...more
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Sand as far as the eye can see, between the last hills and the sea— the sea—in the cold air of an afternoon almost past, and blessed by the wind that always blows from the north.
The beach. And the sea.
It could be perfection— an image for divine eyes— a world that happens, that is all, the mute existence of land and water, a work perfectly accomplished, truth—but once again it is the redeeming grain of a man that jams the mechanism of that paradise, a trifle capable on its own of suspending all t
Asghar Abbas
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Let me Drown in this gorgeous book.

One of the first books I read with an overall poetic prose, a speculative fiction of sorts. It's been years, decades, lifetime maybe, but I feel like I'm still adrift in that ocean.
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2015
And the award for getting me out of my comfort zone goes to Alessandro Baricco! I have never read anything written by him (and I’m not sure I will in the near future) but this little thing was like a breath of (somewhat) fresh air. Yes, yes, yes, it’s about the sea, the overwhelming, powerful, healing, cruel, regenerating etc. sea. And about the not so original idea of bringing a bunch of unknown, totally different people together. And how the sea is their friend or nemesis, how it all starts (w ...more
Charlotte Mercille
Probably one of the best books I have read in my life. Unbelievably true and beautiful.
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There is something almost hypnotic about this book, drawing the reader into its setting, into the sea. The writing is lyrical and lovely and I was impressed by the depth the author was able to achieve in under 250 pages, especially considering the multiple interwoven storylines. I felt fully invested in each of the character's narratives and each of the characters felt very real, even with the somewhat ethereal feel of the book as a whole. A truly masterful work. ...more
This is one of those books I always return to - be it I'm feeling a tad melancholic, or happy-beyond-words, or sad-beyond-a-doubt.

Baricco's lyrical style and the ease in which his sentences flow is very similar to the river and the metaphor of the ocean/sea he uses in this work (and others). You feel kind of lulled by the language, taken on a slow, magical journey - and the emotions it invokes are also as diverse and as "soft". I don't know how better to describe it, but this book has so much b
Jun 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: italian_fiction
One of my fave books ever. Baricco, you either love him or hate him, there's no inbetween.

I don't know how this particular edition (I own the original, in Italian), so I can't really vouch for the translation, but the Italian version caught my breath away. You laugh and you cry, you smile and you hurt, and smile again. The beginning is confusing because of Baricco's peculiar writing style *and* the plot... well, let's face it, the plot *is* weird, but it's a good kind of weird imho. Just give t
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Imagine the most perfect bite of the most decadent dish melting in your mouth and giving you indescribable pleasure.... Imagine the most harmonic melody caressing your ear... Imagine a picture so perfect that you find yourself in it... This is the kind of prose you have the pleasure devouring!

"Ocean Sea" is a picture painted with words, that has its own melody to it. It's the finest poetry in form of a novel. The main character here is The Sea - doctor, killer, God... Every now and then people d
May 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
- In an indefinite era
- A boarding house at the edge of the world
- Seven bedrooms
- Seven characters, cast away from life, met the sea and remained marked by it
- Strange children like guardian angels haunt the house and it's guests' souls.

All are looking for something balanced on the ocean.
The book tells them
Listening them we ear the sea's voice, we stay hanging on their every word, and on the moves of these beautiful peoples, brave and naive.
They hope to domisticate the world, to rough it's limi
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a dream like experience! What a surreal narrative! I actually did not expect it to have some sort of plot, which it did and also didn't at the same time. It was about that little "Almajero"tavern and its temporary population. That's all there is to know. What fallows are surreal dream like conversations, visions, dreams, magic, sighs and paintings. Prayers and infidelities, revenges and loses of virginity and innocence. And sea. Sea. Sea. Where are its eyes? Where are its borders? And why d ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aušrinė by: Michela Prete
Ocean Sea” was recommended to me by fellow PhD student from university I was visiting. And I was very surprised when on the last day of my visit she gave me this book as a gift. This is one of the very few books gifted to me not by my family members and without me asking for it. Thank you, Michela!

Before starting this book, I didn’t have any expectations, only some examples from the plot. But I was asked to give the impression about it when I finish. So I started comparing it to something I hav
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A magical beginning. And then utter nonsense till the end.
Ana Mustać
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Baricco was the first writer to taught me how to read books as poetry. This is one of those books that makes you want to keep reading it all the time because the feeling you get from each sentence is like an emotional punch in the face. The characters come from some different world where nostalgia is present, pointless efforts are the most logical thing that one can think of and pain has a healing sense. Overwhelming is the only word I can think of to start to describe it, but to finish it would ...more
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There is some brutality in this book, as well as some absurdity that can make you feel a bit hopeless. That said, I can't do anything other than love it and marvel at almost every sentence. I am just grateful to live in a world where someone has combined these words in these ways. I have never admired a writer's mind more than Baricco's. If I had a personal wonderland, he would be its Emcee. ...more
Adrianne Mathiowetz
Mar 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread
Granted, I read this in high school, when I was a silly girl fond of adjectives, fairy tales, surreal twists, and salty water. But I maintain it is the prettiest book ever written.
Aug 20, 2009 rated it did not like it
All my friends seem to have liked it, but I totally hated it. Even though I liked all the previous books by this author, I was surprised how terrible this one was... Waste of time.
Dora Viazzo
Nov 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unbearable nonsense. I couldn’t get past 20% out of boredom.
The time is è indefinite. The space is the Almayer Inn that is on the beach of an unspecified sea. It has seven rooms and mysteriously emphatic kids run it. It hosts Plasson the painter, Bartleboom the scientist, the beautiful Madame Daviera, the preist Padre Pucle who accompanies the young aristocratic and hypersensitive Elisewin, the mysterious Adams aka Thomas, the doctor Savigny and their stories.
“I meant to say that I want it, life, I would do anything to have it all, all that there is, so
Courtney Johnston
Jul 19, 2011 rated it liked it
I would call 'Ocean Sea' a fable, but generally a fable has a plot, a reveal and a message. So perhaps 'Ocean Sea' is a confection, a collection of conceits and meditations and character sketches, based on the idea of the sea and the different things it has meant over the centuries.

A motley collection of characters come together at the mysterious Almayer Inn, a hotel on the sea front staffed by a family of children, Dira and her four brothers.

Perched on the last narrow edge of the world, a ston
Annaleely Leely
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i will tell very few people to read this book, but it's my favorite. ...more
Elena T
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I grabbed this book because it was published the year I was born. I did not read the synopsis, did not look around for reviews or ask my friends if they'd read it, I loved the title and it came out in 1993 so that was enough for me.

That's why, when I started reading, I had absolutely no expectations and when those nasty things are out of the way, it is just so easy to become spellbound by the words flowing through your eyes, into your mind. After the first 20 pages I was absolutely certain that
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Alessandro Baricco is a wildly popular writer among those who are aquinted with his work and I understand why: Ocean Sea has a very unique writing style and it is strange, highly intelligent and magical at the same time. The dialogue between professor Bartleboom and Dira when they meet at the Almayer inn stands among my favourites in literature. And therefore I regret that for some reason I can't explain his writing style isn't entirely my cup of tea.

Perhaps I will appreciate Ocean Sea more in t
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I loved this book. Something in the spirit of the characters and the magical atmosphere of the stories reminded me of Vian's L'Écume des jours and Heartsnatcher, which are among my favourite books ever.
There are these stories, stories that might seem absurd at first sight, but they're as true to the reality of life as anything can be, as anything is.
Touching on our inner depths, sinking under, Ocean Sea is life itself. Again - loved it. And now... There's just no need to say more.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
God knows how much I love Alessandro Baricco but I've been a bit disappointed by this one. The story didn't turn out the way I expected it to be and I thought there would be a deeper relationship between the characters and their relations to the sea... It's clearly a poetic novel, very well written and always pleasant to read but I guess I just expected something else. This is the kind of book you must read several times to notice every detail and to understand every innuendo between the lines. ...more
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The language is stunning. A fragile girl, who can't deal with sharp corners and vivid colors. A priest who writes prayers for the most mundane. A man who writes love letters to someone he has never met. A sailor looking for retribution after a terror at sea. A man who is painting the ocean with evaporating sea water. AMAZING. ...more
Wael EL Gabas
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this book at least 7 stars, what a book and what a writer!! unique book from a genius writer, nothing resemble it, you can't call yourself interested in literatures without reading this, and anyone who didn't readied it yet, is missing a great deal of culture. ...more
Olga M
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This was incredible.
Sahar Hamed
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Alessandro Baricco is a popular Italian writer, director, and performer. His novels have been translated into a wide number of languages, and include Lands of Glass, Silk, Ocean Sea, City, and Without Blood. His theatrical monologue, Novecento, was adapted into film, titled The Legend of 1900.

He currently lives in Rome with his wife and two sons.

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