Read The Language of the Sea by James MacManus Online


A lyrical and affecting family drama reminiscent of The Shipping News which challenges readers to re-examine their perception of natureA striking blend of realism and contemporary myth-making, this unforgettable novel tells the story of marine biologist Leo Kemp. Having lost his teaching position thanks to outspoken views, Leo decides to go on one last field trip with hisA lyrical and affecting family drama reminiscent of The Shipping News which challenges readers to re-examine their perception of natureA striking blend of realism and contemporary myth-making, this unforgettable novel tells the story of marine biologist Leo Kemp. Having lost his teaching position thanks to outspoken views, Leo decides to go on one last field trip with his students. The outing becomes disastrous when the weather turns and Leo is thrown overboard. The evocative description of Leo’s journey explores what can happen beyond our perceived knowledge of science. James MacManus tests the bounds of reality with his cunning narrative set within the beautiful community of Cape Cod....

Title : The Language of the Sea
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 11156585
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Language of the Sea Reviews

  • Kwoomac
    2018-09-03 07:31

    This is a beautiful story of a marine biologist who is swept overboard while on a day trip with students to study the seals on Monomoy island on the Cape. Leo Kemp has been obsessed with seals since a visit to the zoo as a child where he first saw sea lions. He was familiar with the myths about selkies, seals who took the form of a woman to seduce a man and have children, only to choose to return to the sea. He fantasized about becoming a seal. After being washed overboard, Leo found himself surrounded by a pod of seals and decided to just go with them. Cool premise, well executed.This book was a good match for me. I love the ocean and have chosen to live close to it but I'm in awe and a little terrified of what's there just under the waves. I've never been able to bring myself to go on a whale watch because I'm afraid I'd never want to go swimming again. I've given up night swimming thanks to "Jaws." One summer a few years back there was a basking shark that hung around my beach. I was fascinated by it. They're 20-40 feet long. And whenever I go to Woods Hole, I'm envious of the whole culture there, all those smart marine biologists, who ALWAYS win at trivia, leaving us in their wake !

  • Barbara
    2018-09-02 04:26

    At first I found this book entertaining in a mild way, until the main character falls overboard into the sea. The following chapter has him swimming with seals and traveling with them from beach to beach for several weeks, to the avoidance of human contact and rescue. His family and friends morn his loss, while he is surviving on what he can glean from the ocean and seemingly turning into a seal. The plot turned weird on me. While it was a given that the main character is a marine biology professor, whose main interest is seals - still the premise just was not realistic. But I plodded on. And in the continuing chapters, the book held more than just a man leaving his life behind and becoming one with nature. There's a message there that while this is a water planet, we know very little about the ocean life around us. We know more about outer space than we do the ocean depths. A worthwhile message-- and others about fishing, overfishing, animal communication and behavior,'s just in an unusual package.

  • Lila
    2018-09-02 07:24

    Something a bit different......half fantasy/half reality.

  • Fran
    2018-08-29 02:05

    Language of the SeaAuthor: James MacManusReviewed by Fran LewisLeo Kemp is an outspoken man who finds himself in a serious situation. A marine biologist whose life is taking a downward spiral, he seems more focused on understanding the seals and not on his wife and daughter. Leo works in an Institute in Cold Harbor. His students do not seem that enamored with his lectures and often ask questions that are menial and not challenging. Fascinated with seals their existence, how they communicate, live and much more he loses his job at the biology facility when he speaks out against certain policies. But, Leo wants one more hurrah. Deciding to take his students on one last outing would cost him more than the job he lost. Reflecting on what really matters to him, looking deep inside himself and trying to understand what he really wants, this outing would be life altering not just for him but for many others too.Forgiveness is not always granted. Accidents happen but not always forgotten. The book opens with a tragedy. The death of Leo and Margot’s son Jacob during a research trip on the Atlantic Ocean would send their lives in different directions. All that was left was his wife and daughter Sam. Was that enough for him or did he thirst for the sea and much more?Confronting the media and putting himself in the limelight did not endear him to the head of the Cold Harbor Marine Institute. Implying that the private donations and investments in marine research were improperly used, claiming that the monies should target finding out “ the big things that we don’t know.” Based on research about seals and true events surrounding one unique seal, named Hoover, author James McManus relates this history and story of this harbor seal that spoke English. Discussion groups in Leo’s classes centered on questions about the language of seals, the seas in which they live but never about what he thought were the big pictures. Obsessed with seals, thriving on learning more about hem and less about humans, Leo shared the true story about Hoover with his students during his off campus sessions. Hoover was orphaned and picked up by a fisherman in Maine on May 5, 1971. Alice and George Swallow were the couple that found him and took him home. Hoover was treated as if he was their own child and definitely a member of their family. But, Hoover outgrew the bathtub he lived in and was finally donated to the New England Aquarium. The Aquarium kept copious records of his behavior and on November 12, 1978, seven years later, this seal said his name, Hoover. Hoover was named after the vacuum cleaner, Hoover because he sucked up food as fast as a vacuum cleaner. Hoover was the only non-mammal to speak. But Leo pushed the buttons of those in charge of the Institute, and his outspoken attitude finally did him in. Leo and Margot married at a young age and were happy for a while. Fun loving, full of life and unpredictable he kept Margot happy until the untimely death of their son, Julian that deeply affected her and changed their lives. Focusing his attention more on the media, creating controversy and the seals, Leo damaged the reputation of the Institute and hence his dismissal. Freedom of speech and expression can only go so far. When it tarnishes reputations those involved seek more than just answers. Author James MacManus brings to light what happens when one man is dissatisfied with his life, the status quo and wants more than just what’s in front of him. Leo Kemp loves the sea and on this last journey with his students he hopes to record underwater conversations among the seals. But, fate steps in and Leo is thrown overboard by an errant wave and then things spiral out of control. As Leo’s family learns of his fate and joins in the search for him; Leo begins his trek to shore, joins the seals in the water and listens to underwater chatter of the dolphins, seals and other sea creatures hoping to find land. Taking the reader along with Leo on this seafaring journey the author relates a story of a man truly obsessed with the language of the sea and its inhabitants. While Margot, Buck, and Sam frantically search for any sign of him, Leo is consumed with the seals hoping to learn more about them. Flashbacks to other nights, groups discussions and different events that led up to this day, both Leo and Margot’s dreamlike fantasy states add to the harsh reality of the story allowing the reader to understand why their life together fell apart. Leo’s priorities were definitely misplaced. Family, friends and career might have been important at one point but put on the backburner and often held at bay. Leo’s life and only priority was learning how the seals, dolphins and other sea creatures communicated, interacted and lived. Unfortunately for Leo he was born human and not a seal. As Leo is searching for land and Margot for Leo or any sign that he’s alive, the author takes a step back and describes their life before this point. Also in the mix is his best friend and reporter Sandy who won’t give up on hoping to find Leo and of course the story. Taking a boat to Monomoy Island and retracing Leo’s journey, Sandy hoped to find some answers or even Leo. But, the search ended after three days and the headline read: “Missing at Sea, Presumed Dead.” Some thought he just might be alive. But, his family held his funeral services and now would have to move on with their lives. Where was Leo? Why didn’t he even try to contact anyone to find him? Leo Kemp was one in the same with the seals. Living and breathing the sea and becoming totally assimilated in the lives of these creatures not trying to understand the rationale behind his fate. But, reports of his existence on the sea did not escape his reporter friend and the Herald as observers claimed that they saw a man’s head among a pod of seals. But, would anyone believe this? As Margot hopes to move on to another life, Sandy, the reporter tries to encourage her stay in Cold Harbor thinking that Leo might turn up. Did she really care or want to know the truth? The vivid descriptions of Leo’s time at sea, watching the whales, hearing their voices, understanding his joys and sorrows. Leo ate the clams, the mussels and sustained his life with the food of the sea. Enjoying his dives the sunsets and much more Leo was finally happy and content. Leo was finally free. One more time Margot and Buck went out on the Antoine to search for Leo. What finally happens you won’t believe. Faith, hope, never giving up Leo is finally found after being missing for 6 weeks. Leo would not divulge anything about his experience. He kept silent. What happens next and how they get him to speak you will have to learn for yourself. With a surprise ending that you won’t see coming and events that would change the course of many different lives, author James MacManus leaves us with many unanswered questions about Leo, his final destination and the pain he caused so many.Leo, Margot and Sam moved to Scotland. Leo led and expedition to North Ronaldsay. The rest you will have to learn for yourself. What is Leo’s final fate? Where is Leo Kemp? Ask the seals maybe they will tell you because Leo won’t. The research done for this book was extensive adding to the excitement of the story helping the reader visualize and understand Leo’s journey at sea and his inner most thoughts. This book gets Five Gold Hoovers: Fran Lewis ReviewerThank you for giving me the honor or reading this really interesting and exciting narrative.

  • Toni
    2018-09-06 05:33

    I love discussions surrounding life and death and the fact that this had the added satisfaction of ocean talk made the experience that much better for me. I'm glad I read this when I did.

  • Deborah Sloan
    2018-09-06 05:16

    I do apologize for being late for this review, but was so drawn into this work that I had to re-read it. The Language of the Sea by James MacManus brings us into the life of Leo Kemp an academia who loses his teaching post at the Coldharbor Institute For Marine Studies he works for but goes on one last field trip with his students. Lost overboard in a freak storm wave, Leo Kemp believed lost at sea leaves his wife, daughter and community behind to carry on with their lives.But there are rumors of a bearded man being seen among the seals on Monomoy Island. First one sighting, then another, and another grabbing the attention of Herald reporter and friend of the lost at sea Leo Kemp to investigate further. How does one come back from being lost at sea for nearly six weeks, living among seals as part of the rookery? Feeding on seaweed, and mollusks and drinking from fresh water ponds, sleeping on the beaches in grasses. Can the family return to a semblance of a happy family life?Are those in the field on science putting their all into the study of the sea, a world much closer to home and more important than that of space exploration. A world that feeds the world and provides power, medicines, and so much more. James MacManus explores all these questions and intrigues us with the powerful pull of the sea life. I throughly enjoyed reading The Language of The Sea by James MacManus and recommend picking up a copy for a refreshing look at sea life.

  • Star
    2018-09-05 06:03

    While I did enjoy this book once I was able to get into it, it was a bit of a slow process. I had to put it down a couple of times, but I wanted to read it, so I kept going. I really enjoyed the last half of the book. I just had a hard time relating to any of the characters, except for Leo, but only later in the book. I did enjoy learning about the seals and marine life. I do agree that there is so much we have left to learn about our own planet. Try The Language of the Sea and see if it speaks to you...

  • Judith Yeabsley
    2018-09-12 02:03

    The first half of this book wasn't bad but it was just dull. Too slow and not enough to keep you riveted. I picked it up as it was my latest book and not because I was desperate to get back inside the pages. From about half way through it hotted up and was interesting and different and I galloped to the end. This is the second book in a row I have read where the central male character is really, really selfish. Yes they have issues but the way they solve them is to abdicate responsibility regardless of what impact that has on their loved ones. Phish. Brings out the feminist gene !!!!

  • Karen
    2018-09-13 04:05

    If your marriage and career are over, can you just swim away? Titled "On the Broken Shore" in the original UK publication, the opening poem says it best:Don't give your heartOn the broken shoreWhere seals and sea dreamsSing love's songFor wind and waveWill take your heartAnd drown your dreamsOn the broken shore

  • Marcella Curry
    2018-08-27 07:18

    Thoroughly enjoyed the main character, Leo, literally losing himself in his work along with the portrayal of life among seals. Less appealing was the portrayal of Cape Cod- much of the geography didn't make sense and the Cape Codders were stereotypes not nuanced characters. The author seems to have several axes to grind which interfered with enjoying this tale.

  • Lesley
    2018-09-17 06:12

    This is a hard book to classify. It contains a failing marriage and a failing career, warnings to both scientists and fishermen, and some mystical thinking. It is a small book that says much, has interesting characters, and lovely writing. Try it. You'll like it.

  • Mary sipp rigby
    2018-09-23 08:31

    2011 good weird cape cod book

  • Anna Noga
    2018-09-17 05:24

    Read this in one evening. Has some bizarre parts but some great parts too. I enjoyed it, especially some of Leo's quotes about scientists.

  • Julie
    2018-08-31 04:29

    Thought it had a great premise...interesting story at first. Then it fell off the deep end..

  • Pat
    2018-08-28 03:17

    Enjoyed this very much.

  • Jp Lutz
    2018-09-12 06:24

    His first! I hesitated... happy I didn't The beginning sets a tone, a pace, follow both. To those familiar with these waters do not hesitate. To the author, thank you.

  • Kayla Peters
    2018-09-20 01:04

    This book, was complete and total genius. Incredibly unique plot, Mouth dropping ending, everything about this book was perfection.

  • Barbara
    2018-09-22 05:27

    A good read that held some surprises and some disappointments.