The novel turns into one of the writing’s possible freedom, longing for romantic love and the rare moments of inner peace. Most end up in painful humiliation.
Steve Sem–Sandberg has an extraordinary capacity to bring out the oppressive feeling of being imprisoned by hostile circumstances and one’s own shortcomings. The meeting between him and Rousseau is lovingly, like between two close friends.
Sem-Sandberg focuses on Rousseau’s view on nature, without lecturing but instead lets it become present when the philosopher rows on his daily botanic excursions, preferably with a teachable boy after him like an Émile. As always the stylistic is seductive; the saturated, poetic language that could turn any matter into shimmering gold. It’s almost occult.
Steve Sem-Sandberg writes calmly and flowing and beautifully. Enrolls in a highly literary European tradition, with a clear confidence from international awards and the chair in the Swedish Academy.
– Sveriges radio
”The Ocean” is an aching novel about duplicities. About at once being a loadstar and paria. About human’s never one sided balance act to live a worthy life. I hope it will be read by many.
Maybe it’s imagination, but to me it seems like “The Ocean” in Sem-Sandberg’s authorship marks the transition to a new phase. Here everything melts together in a fortunate symbios, sheer nature writing, playful expositions about medical herbs, theological arguments; a quiet and intense whirl that lets us see the things in a new way.
– Tidningen Vi
And now it has to be said: what a novel this is!
As a reader I follow him closely, startled, fascinated and seduced. I can’t but state that Sem-Sandberg once again has written a nuanced and brilliant portrayal – that essentially is about the difficulty in living as you learn. This is great art.