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It's the mid-1920s and New York is shimmering with the hope and vigour of a younger generation in headlong pursuit of greater freedoms and pleasures. Watching from the sidelines, nineteen-year-old Savanna Mason struggles with the gravity of her perceived failures, finding release and security in the water. Savi believes that her swimming has the power to change her world. ...more
Paperback, 233 pages
Published August 11th 2008 by Brindle and Glass Publishing
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There are a lot of amazing things in this book, but I want to highlight one element I have rarely seen explored in fiction: the experience of failure as an athlete. Savi's reactions to her stumbles in swimming are authentic, making her even more likeable as the book goes on. Add in a masterful nonlinear narrative perfect for this story, lush descriptions that never overshadow the plot, complex secondary characters... just lovely.
I discovered this remarkable novel by chance at a second hand bookstore in NYC and was interested to find it was set in 1920s NY and California, based around true events, and written by a young Canadian author. I enjoyed Savi’s refreshing anti-heroine narrative, the unpredictable turns of the story, the accuracy of the historical detail, the smooth integration of the 1920s slang, physicality of the writing (swimming sections are particularly stunning), overall tight language and well-crafted pac ...more
Sage Island is an interesting book about failure, love, and opportunity. It tells the story of Savannah "Savi" Mason, a nineteen-year-old living in New York during the 1920s, the Flapper Era. Savi is an ardent swimmer who barely misses the cut for the Olympics. Later, she is sponsored to swim across the English Channel. However, when Trudy Ederle completes the swim just three weeks before Savi plans to attempt, her backers are no longer interested in financing her....you'll have to read it to fi ...more
I loved Sage Island. The writing is beautiful, the setting is fascinating, the protagonist is extremely relatable. It took me a little bit to get used to the first-person-present-tense narration, but once I found my groove the rest of the story hummed along, um, swimmingly. The attention to detail was brilliant. Most of all, the beauty of the language was a pleasure to read. Would gladly immerse myself in another work by this author.
This was a terrific read. It was focused on Savanna Mason and her desire to be a champion swimmer, first in the Olympics and then in the world of long distance swimming. She is driven to excel, and throughout the story we see her grappling with the 1920's attitudes toward women and women athletes. The most moving and evocative sections are definitely her mental reveries and wanderings while swimming. I was exhausted afterwards.
I'm a Canadian writer, living and working in Calgary, Alberta. My first novel, Sage Island, was released in 2008 with Brindle & Glass. Shorter pieces of nonfiction and poetry have been broadcast on CBC Radio and appeared in various literary and commercial publications including Geist, Event, The Globe & Mail and FASHION. I coach an adult masters swim team and have competed in long-distance open wa ...more