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Reviewed by Amanda Rofe for Readers' Favorite
The Year of Oceans by Sean Anderson is a novel about the grief suffered by one man after the death of his wife. Hugo Larson, a retired accountant living in North Seattle, lives alone and goes through a gamut of emotions in the aftermath of his wife's passing. This book catalogues the emotions this man experiences including anger, loneliness and despair. Despite having family and a good friend living nearby, he struggles with mundane tasks and often sees nothing but gloom in his life. He does have small glimpses of pleasure including music, football and gardening, but these seem transitory. His early life is explored and this narrative mingles with his present older self to provide a clearer picture of the character of the man. Will he eventually be able to come to terms with his wife's death?
Grief is a very difficult subject to understand, particularly for those who have not experienced it. In The Year of Oceans, the very profound sense of grief and sorrow suffered by Hugo is palpable. This is a man who has very firm views about many things in life. He eschews digital technology and coffee as two of the many evils in the modern world. Sometimes, his rather taciturn manner makes it difficult to differentiate his true character from his suffering. Those who have gone through a bereavement will undoubtedly identify with this. The protagonist journeys through a varied and complex mix of emotions. His path is well documented with subtle but noticeable changes as the book progresses. Sean Anderson writes a poignant eulogy to grief which will resonate with many people who have gone through a similar experience.