The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern…
which was so good it’s almost painful. I will not be able to properly express how much I loved this book and why. It’s a daunting task, like trying to explain… “What does sunlight feel like when you’re in the shade?” So I will do what most people do when trying to describe an abstraction like love and attempt the delicate process of comparison.
In many ways The Starless Sea reminded me of Galilee (or even The Great & Secret Show or Imajica or Weaveworld) by Clive Barker – full of twisted myths and terribly beautiful otherworlds, immortal heartbreak and observation, the spark of love making everything new again. It’s lighter than Barker’s work, though – filled with young people hunting old legends, like The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Secret libraries like The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Sly cats keeping secrets and hidden doors and transformative magic, like The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle.
It’s like all my favorite books in one book.
Which is kind of the plot of the story – all stories are one story… full of readers and writers and characters and background players and artists rendering set pieces out of magic and memory. This is a long book full of multiple stories, different POVs, different times and locations. It is a book you can read and re-read over the years, identifying more with certain characters or situations at different stages in your life.
It is a book you should read without distraction – turn off your phone, turn off the music, turn off the computer and feast your eyes on the text. Like The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern has created a world you’ll want to inhabit fully. Give your mind the quiet and control it needs to build up the world, carefully crafted through words. Let yourself build castles and colleges, caves and closets, cats and cottages. Give yourself time to explore, to linger. Make a cup of tea. Light a candle – preferable one with a crackling wood wick that sounds a little like bees buzzing.
And prepare to fall in love.
This book was eight years in the making – and as far as I can tell, not a second was wasted. Expansive, original, breathtaking, and surreal – The Starless Sea is a must read for all book lovers.
Oh – and this is definitely one of those books that might inspire you to purchase multiple copies. So if you’re into that… might I recommend the Waterstone’s Special Edition or the UK Edition – both of which are gorgeous.