Book Review: Sea Creatures – Susanna Daniel

Sea Creatures coverTitle: Sea Creatures
Author: Susanna Daniel
ISBN: 9780670023660
Pages: 320
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5


Georgia Quillian has returned to her hometown of Miami with her husband, Graham, and their son, and they are trying to start over, living on a houseboat. Graham suffers from a violent sleep disorder, and it has had lasting repercussions throughout their marriage, including this latest setback after which Graham lost his job. In an effort to pay the bills, Georgia gets a job working as an assistant for an artist named Charlie living out in the middle of the water. Through this new position, Georgia will have to make hard realizations about her marriage, as well as what kind of mother she has been to her son.

Snapshot Review:

A beautiful atmospheric read, Sea Creatures examines the role and responsibilities of a wife and mother through Georgia, as she struggles with her husband’s sleep disorder and her son’s refusal to speak, choosing to communicate instead through sign language.

Full Review:

In her latest novel, Susanna Daniel examines the sleep disorder parasomnia, something with which most readers are likely unfamiliar. It’s not your run-of-the-mill sleepwalking; instead, Graham commits unexplainable actions in his sleep, scaring those around him. It’s not something in his control, but at what point should Georgia ask herself whether her husband is a danger to herself and their son, Frankie? This is a question that’s revisited again and again over the course of the novel, as Graham’s parasomnia seems to be only getting worse.

Susanna Daniel paints a beautiful picture of Biscayne Bay in Sea Creatures. Readers will be able to close their eyes and smell the salty air, to feel the spray of ocean across their faces in the breeze. It’s a vivid novel, and readers will appreciate Daniel’s attention to detail, as this is a book where the setting is an integral part of the story; it couldn’t have taken place anywhere else but Miami.

Sea Creatures is told in flashbacks, jumping between past and present as the reader tries to understand Georgia’s changed circumstances. Why doesn’t her son speak? What trauma could have caused this? What happened with Graham’s parasomnia that forced their relocation to Miami? There are so many questions presented to the reader at the beginning of the novel, and Daniels does a great job answering each of them in her own time. It’s a page turner, but still manages to be thoughtful.

This is a novel that will appeal to fans of many different genres. Literary fiction readers will appreciate Daniels’ great writing, while fans of women’s fiction will love Georgia’s character development as she examines her role as a wife and mother. Whatever your fancy when it comes to fiction, it’s likely that Daniels will satisfy your interests with Sea Creatures.

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  1. Beth Hoffman says:

    When I first heard about this book, I put it on my list. Your review has convinced me to move it closer to the top!

  2. I’m currently reading this and am enjoying it. I’m waiting for the climax and the revelation to why Frankie doesn’t speak.

  3. I enjoyed this one too. It’s a bit of a stressful read, but memorable and satisfying.


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