cover image At Sea

At Sea

Emma Fedor. Gallery, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-982171-54-4

A young woman falls in love with a fishlike man in Fedor’s mesmerizing fantastical debut. Unable to find a job or internship after college, Cara stays at her aunt and uncle’s house on Martha’s Vineyard, a haven with fond memories of summers with her now-deceased mother. She meets Brendan, a member of the Army’s Special Forces, who reveals that his superhuman ability to stay underwater for long periods of time is the result of gill-like enhancements made by the military. Though Brendan’s mood swings and abrupt disappearances are concerning, Cara falls for him and abandons her plans to move in with a friend in New York City. After getting pregnant with Brendan and giving birth to their son Micah, Cara stays with Brendan until he and Micah abruptly disappear. Five years later, Cara is still living on Martha’s Vineyard and married to Graham, a comparatively stable guy whose “style is based entirely on comfort and practicality.” Still, she never gives up hope that she will find Micah, especially after a local fisherman says he saw a man and a boy swimming together far out in the ocean, and when she runs into Brendan at her art gallery. Fedor’s neatly plotted narrative keeps the pages turning, and Cara’s emotional pull toward her lost family makes the far-fetched conceit feel believable. This sparkling debut will hook readers. Agent: Wendy Sherman, Wendy Sherman Assoc. (Mar.)