A Quiet Tide
Imprint: New Island Books
416 Pages, 5.1 x 7.8 in
- May 2022
- In Stock
And yet, by the time of her death in 1815, Ireland’s first female botanist, self-taught and determined to make her mark, had catalogued over a thousand species of seaweed and plants from her native Bantry Bay.
In Marianne Lee’s remarkable debut novel, Ellen’s rich but tormented inner life is reclaimed from the repression by gender, class and politics of her time, stealing glimpses of the happiness and autonomy she could never quite articulate. As she reaches for meaning and expression through her work, the eruption of a long-simmering family feud and the rise of Ellen’s own darkness – her ‘quiet tide’ – threaten to destroy her already fragile future.
A Quiet Tide is a life examined, a heart-breaking, haunting story that at last captures the essence and humanity of a long forgotten Irishwoman.
An exemplary act of literary ventriloquism ... In Lee’s adroitly evocative reimagining of Ellen’s life, women are cloistered by conventions & familial duties . . . But beneath these strictures, they lead rich inner lives almost under the radar, and Ellen’s thoughts and desires are superbly captured ... Lee strikes me as a . . . writer of substance & intelligence, declining the embellishments of linguist pyrotechnics, unafraid to let her tale unfold at its own pace. She is canny in what she puts in & wise in what she leaves out, so that Ellen’s fate haunts the reader. ~Dermot Bolger, Sunday Business Post
Though set in the past, the themes of her debut have a modern feel, none more so than in Ellen’s attempts to establish herself in a male-dominated field. Her struggle for autonomy and equality is clear, and though Ellen achieves much, one is left wondering by the end of the book just how much more would have been possible were she given the same opportunities as her brothers.
Early in life, Ellen’s headmistress gives her some advice on her restless spirit. “You must strive to curb it. Accept what is around you. Do not fight.” Lee’s novel beautifully captures the quiet resistance by one noteworthy Irish woman against this damning advice. ~Sarah Gilmartin, The Irish Times
"A beautifully layered novel, so fluidly written, shining a light on one formidable woman’s journey; quiet and contemplative yet determined and passionate, tied to family yet full of desire, and a yearning to soar." ~The Resting Willow Blog