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THE VOYAGE OF THE MORNING LIGHT by Marina Endicott Kirkus Star


by Marina Endicott

Pub Date: June 2nd, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-324-00706-7
Publisher: Norton

Two sisters sail around the world.

It’s 1911, and after her much older half sister marries a ship’s captain, teenage Kay joins them onboard the Morning Light for a trip around the world. Their strict father has recently died, and as they travel, the sisters find themselves still haunted by his legacy: He’d run a school for Native American children in remote Canada, where scores of students apparently died from tuberculosis. Now Kay suffers from nightmares so severe she wakes up screaming. But as the trip continues, both Kay and her sister, Thea, begin to have a look around them. Kay begins studying ancient Greek with a goofy English pastor who’s joined them. Things change when Thea, who longs for a child, adopts a young boy from a poor Micronesian island. Kay is troubled by the adoption, though she can’t immediately articulate why. Endicott depicts her characters with great delicacy and sympathy. Kay, especially, is a wonder to behold: She’s barely a teenager when the novel begins, and to witness her first encounters with the world, as she quietly unravels her own feelings and beliefs about what she sees, is simply marvelous. The novel’s second half shifts in time and mood in a way that feels both surprising and exactly right. There is so much in this book to linger over, from Kay and Thea’s relationship with each other to the strength and autonomy of Kay’s mind to Endicott’s lyrical descriptions of the sea and the ship. It’s a novel to return to again and again.

Endicott’s latest novel is a quiet, elegant triumph with no easy answers.