Picador has acquired Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel, a "novel of time travel and metaphysics that precisely captures the reality of our current moment."
Sophie Jonathan, editorial director, bought UK and Commonwealth print, digital and audio rights from Anna Webber at United Agents. The novel will be published simultaneously with Alfred A Knopf and HarperCanada in April 2022.
The synopsis reads: "In 1912, 18-year-old Edwin St Andrew crosses the Atlantic, exiled from English polite society. In British Columbia, he enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and for a split second all is darkness, the notes of a violin echoing unnaturally through the air. The experience shocks him to his core. Two centuries later Olive Llewelyn, a famous writer, is traveling all over Earth, far away from her home in the second moon colony. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.
"When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in time, he uncovers a series of lives upended: the exiled son of an aristocrat driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe."
Jonathan said: "Sea of Tranquility is astonishing. It is a novel that investigates the idea of parallel worlds and possibilities, that plays with the very line along which time should run. Perceptive and poignant about art and love, and what we must do to survive, it is also incredibly compelling: a time travel novel reminiscent of David Mitchell and an enormously exciting offering from one of our most remarkable writers."
St John Mandel said: "Sea of Tranquility was conceived and written during the pandemic. I spent the entirety of 2020 in New York City, and this is the kind of book that happens when you’re working in a soundscape of constant ambulance sirens. There is a time traveller in it. There is also an author living on a moon colony who visits Earth on a book tour. Picador have always been an absolute pleasure to work with, and I'm delighted to be publishing my new book with them."
St John Mandel is the author of of five previous novels, including two with Picador: The Glass Hotel (2020) and Station Eleven (2014), which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiiction, won the Arthur C Clarke Award, was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, has been translated into 32 languages, and is in production to be a limited series on HBO Max.