OCEANEN – THE OCEAN
By Steve Sem-Sandberg
In the fall of 1765 Jean-Jacques Rousseau spends 45 days at Île Saint-Pierre, an island in the republic Bern. Works such as Julie; or The New Heloise, The Social Contract, or Principles of Political Right and Emile, or On Education have in just a few years made the philosopher one of the most spoken of persons in Europe. Not least does the enlightened arguments about religion in Emile, or On Education, raise offense and he is hunted, first from France, thereafter Schweiz, accused of being an apostate.
Steve Sem-Sandberg’s The Ocean is a strong and gripping novel about an uncompromising solitaire whose only refuge he can possibly see lies in the plants that he collects on the island. But soon the philosopher can’t flee any longer. At night come the irreconcilable dreams, and actions from the past he has long chosen to not acknowledge barge in, just like the water rising around the island.