The ‘wide sea’ of the title is a variety of places in this very satisfying read from one of our best, award-winning authors.
Arthur Hobhouse was one of the UK orphans set adrift after WWII; sent by boat to Australia and thence into the vast openness of the outback, where life was made intolerable and harsh by his vicious guardian, Piggy Bacon. His moving tale takes up the first two thirds of the novel leading to the building of his last boat, designed specifically for his daughter, 18-year-old Allie, in the years before he died.
She resolves to take up her deceased father’s quest to find his dimly-remembered sister Kitty and to sail single-handedly across half of the world to England. En route she begins a fortuitous communication with another soul in the vastness of space, an astronaut on the International Space Station.
The masterful writing makes the characters come to life on the page and through their strong voices the reader is drawn to examine the human condition in all its contradictions and complexities. I’m recommending this to adult friends as well as teenagers.