Sea of Hooks
  • Author: Hill, Lindsay
  • Binding: Clothbound, sewn, jacketed
  • Pages: 351
  • Size: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pub. Year: 2013
  • ISBN: 978-1-62054-006-0
  • In Stock: Yes
Price: $25.00



Feb. 11, Allison Cobb, Glyph Art Center: Arresting Beauty
Feb. 13, Carolyn Oliver, Rosemary and Reading Glasses: Recommended Reading
Feb. 13, Kassie Rose, The Longest Chapter: Have you seen me?
Feb. 14, Carolyn Oliver, Rosemary and Reading Glasses: An Interview with Lindsay Hill
Feb. 19, Robert Birnbaum, OURMANINBOSTON: Sea of Hooks
Mar. 12, Candace Opper Review: "a sensation of unexplainable familiarity"
Mar. 29, April Baer superb interview at Oregon Public Broadcasting: Lindsay Hill's Long Labors

NEWS 1/23: Glyph Art Space: An exhibition of journals and artifacts from Lindsay Hill's 20-year-long project of writing Sea of Hooks

EARLIER NEWS 12/9: Chosen by New York Magazine as a Top 10 Book of 2013: The Year in Culture 2013

NEWS 12/8: The Top 10 Northwest Books of 2013: Sea of Hooks #1

NEWS 12/2:Seattle's ACT Theater announces a dramatic reading of Sea of Hooks on February 7th and 8th: Sea of Hooks: A Stage Presentation

Publishers Weekly names Sea of Hooks one of this year's top five novels:"Best Books of 2013"

On November 6th, Publishers Weekly declares Sea of Hooks "The Most Underrated Book of 2013"

Publishers Weekly Radio features an interview with Lindsay Hill, 11/1/13: "How writing poetry enabled the writing of a novel"

Seven questions for Lindsay Hill: Interview with Laura Stanfill

Review by Charles R. Larson in Counterpunch on November 15th: Hell is Other People

Review by Maya Muir in The Oregonian on November 18th: One of the Best Books of the Year

Review by Moira Macdonald in Seattle Times on November 29th: Navigating the Past's Dark Waters

A boy grew up beside a sea of hooks and he learned to swim in that sea and to notice the hooks as they rose and fell and twisted in the tides...
What if you saw the world—with all its signs and signals, its schedules and habits and goals, the matrix of friends, the unspoken codes of conduct—emptied of ordinary meaning?
Imagine that the debris collected from the streets of your childhood spoke more urgently to you, with messages and wonders that compelled you to enter another world, a world whose broken pieces converged at the junctures of vision and illusion, of life and death.
In this wise and beautiful novel, the reader follows Christopher Westall, an alarmingly imaginative young man, through repeated trauma and transformation, on a journey from San Francisco to Bhutan.
His shattered life is woven from a thousand shards, hints, signs and tangled threads that are pursued and gathered toward its reassembly.
As memory, dream, fear and resilience exert their tidal pulls, Christopher’s life tilts, collides, reverses, dissolves and reemerges, while risks and revelations glisten side-by-side in the depths of the Sea of Hooks.

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY 7/26/2013 (starred and boxed review)
"This first novel by poet and one-time banker Hill is less a novel, in the traditional sense, than a spiritual biography. Christopher Westall, raised in San Francisco in the 1950s and heady ’60s, is the only child of an alcoholic and distant father and an eccentric, meddling mother. The boy is alarmingly fragile and sensitive, and possessed by a soaring imagination and a slew of fascinating theories about sound, ice, 'knife people' under his bed, and, most significantly, a world from which 'messengers' communicate with him via random detritus he picks up in the street—slips of paper, foil from cigarette packs, etc. These he orders into a fantasy world. Repeated sexual abuse by a tutor makes escapism even more urgent for the 12-year-old, as do subsequent tragedies: his mother’s suicide in his bed; his father’s career misfortunes and early death. Not until Christopher is befriended by an older man named Dr. Thorn does a kind of mentoring occur; indeed, Dr. Thorn’s counsel—and final messages—delivers Christopher to a form of peace, achieved through the practice of Buddhism and a pilgrimage to Bhutan when the latter is an adult. But it is Hill’s language that dominates this story, which is told in fractured bits, not unlike the messengers. Christopher’s meditations on death, memory, the relations of bones to the self, not to mention rain and snow and fog and the cosmos, are mystical, highly poetic and musically rendered—an almost impossibly sustained performance from beginning to end. Nearly every paragraph astonishes, every moment rich with magic and daring. Reminiscent of Robert Pirsig and Herman Hesse in its concern with authenticity, Sea of Hooks also has the unbearable anguish of Kafka’s diaries—making for an unforgettable trip."

Read an opening selection from the novel in the fall issue of New England Review: Opening chapters

Conjunctions magazine features a later excerpt from Sea of Hooks

Publishers Weekly features Sea of Hooks among its picks this season: The Big Indie Books of Fall 2013

To avoid any confusion, please note that a few years ago Arundal Press of Seattle issued the short lyric poem that serves as the epigraph of this novel as a small limited edition letterpress booklet under the same title, Sea of Hooks.

"Lindsay Hill's Sea of Hooks begins with a man named Christopher Westall staring at his mother's asphyxiated body. Her suicide is only the latest in a long series of traumatic events in Christopher's life, and it creates an emotional fissure that widens into a vast gulf between life before and after her death. The narrative splits accordingly, weaving together two chronologies: one timeline describes his dysfunctional youth; the other follows his trip to Bhutan after his mother's suicide. His upbringing is almost a parody of Victorian repression, while the trip to the "Far East" in search of spiritual healing is a painfully well-worn trope. Nevertheless, Sea of Hooks is an impressive work that uses . . . [a] fractured format to great effect, benefiting from Hill's powerful poetic sensibility...."--Shelf Awareness for Readers more...

Lindsay Hill was born in San Francisco and graduated from Bard College. Since 1974, he has published six books of poetry and his work has appeared in a wide variety of literary journals. Sea of Hooks is his first novel, the product of nearly twenty years of work. His other writing and editorial projects include...


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