“This debut author rightfully earns his place on the storytelling totem pole with this wildly original short story collection.”—San Francisco Chronicle
Dazzling and delightful, with its feet only slightly tethered to the world we know, The Sea Beast Takes a Lover explores family, faith, and longing through a kaleidoscope of surreal landscapes and spellbinding characters.
Andreasen's stories unfold in wildly inventive worlds that invite the supernatural into our familiar routines: in “Bodies in Space,” an extramarital affair is rudely interrupted by an alien abduction, while in “Blunderbuss,” a third-grade class takes an ill-advised field trip to a floundering time travel institute. “Jenny” follows a reluctant caretaker's attempts to manage his kind-hearted headless sister, and in the title story, a group of sailors find their ship commandeered by an aggressively lovestruck kraken.
Romping through the fantastic with bighearted ease, these stories uncover a universal yearning for connection in seldom-explored spaces, revealing that aliens can help us think about loss, that time travel is just another way to talk about guilt, and that sea monsters may have a thing or two to teach us about love.
With a captivating new voice from an immensely talented storyteller, The Sea Beast Takes a Lover uses the odd, the extraordinary, and the miraculous to expose us at our most profoundly and hilariously human.
About the Author
Michael Andreasen holds a master's degree in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Zoetrope: All-Story, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. He lives in Southern California. The Sea Beast Takes a Lover is his first book.
Praise for The Sea Beast Takes a Lover
“A debut short story collection that treads the line between the speculative and the satirical with vivid prose, fatalist joie de vivre, and wild imaginative turns. Andreasen's style is reminiscent of George Saunders. . . . Energetic and engaging, these stories benefit from the sheer vigor of their telling.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Andreasen has the soul of a poet and the heart of a yarn spinner; he breathes new life into familiar tropes via the ingenuity of his storytelling and his tendency to color outside the lines. The 11 refreshing stories in this debut collection are full of delicious detours, and ultimately they’re the point.” –Publisher's Weekly
“Each [story] strikes the balance between fantasy as metaphor and fantasy in itself.…Highly recommended for both fans of literary speculative fiction and general readers.” -Booklist
“This debut author rightfully earns his place on the storytelling totem pole with this wildly original short story collection.” -San Francisco Chronicle
"These are stories that dare to be about love -- familial, monstrous, erotic, unrequited, doomed -- and their refusal to approach the subject by anything but unconventional means is a posture of deepest reverence." -Michigan Quarterly Review
“Andreasen’s assured voice is a blend of quietly brooding naturalism and blithe surrealism, a kind of Raymond Carver sensibility and style mated with Mark Leyner’s fizzy, mad ideation. Employing sharp-edged yet deceptively unadorned prose, Andreasen succeeds in sucking the reader into his drolly insane and charmingly ghastly scenarios…Andreasen wraps his readers in literary tentacles that both stroke and throttle, and pulse with fervent alien life.” -Barnes & Noble Review
"The Sea Beast Takes a Lover is a treasury of fantastic tales--full of mermaids, prophetic dancing bears, exploding children, and distraught time travelers. It's also a collection of longing, of loss, of loving deeply, and of learning what it means to care for others. A brilliant book, daring and wonderful." –Alexander Weinstein, author of Children of the New World
“The Sea Beast Takes a Lover sits on a small shelf of books that I will read a dozen times over. It is full of explosions of magic, aching tenderness and star-bright writing. This is a book that will make you want to tap the person next to you and say, ‘I’m sorry to interrupt, but you have to hear this.’” –Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and A Guide to Being Born
"Andreasen has a big, roomy imagination, and a command of language to furnish the worlds he creates with both precision and grandeur. These stories are, by turns, timeless and urgent, dreamy and nightmarish, heartbroken and hopeful. A brilliant collection." –Charles Yu, author of Sorry Please Thank You and How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
“The world is a very strange place. Michael Andreasen’s fantastic storytelling, ripe with tender monsters and understandably tortured humans, opens the window to our weirdness just a crack further, reminding his reader that the human heart is and always will be filled with wonder.” --Samantha Hunt, author of Mr. Splitfootand The Dark Dark
"The Sea Beast Takes a Lover is such a wildly imaginative work that the book itself could be an artifact drawn from one of the sui generis stories it contains. Uncannily inventive yet unfailingly grounded in all-too-familiar struggles of the heart, these are stories that vary widely in subject matter--paternal pressures, the terror of stasis, our jealous hunger for love--but never in the confident distinctiveness of Michael Andreasen's voice. What a voice it is! What a vision! For what is more exciting to a reader than discovering a new way to see the world? This thrillingly original debut gives us just that in every story, on every page." –Josh Weil, author of The Age of Perpetual Light
“The Sea Beast Takes a Loveris a beautiful Wunderkammerof a book, filled with delights and curiosities that radically expand our understanding of the world. Tender and demented, hilarious and sublime, Andreasen’ stories achieve quote a marvelous thing: to be as deeply felt as they are wildly imagine.” -Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author ofMadeleine Is SleepingandMs. Hempel Chronicles
“There really is a lovesick sea beast—along with many other magical creatures—but Andreasen is interested in religion, love, loss and all the stuff of real life. There is so much depth and whimsy in these pages.”–Oprahmag.com