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The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont

The Starboard Sea

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January 2013 Debut of the Month and eBook of the Month.

This is a remarkable debut novel, vivid and evocative and perfectly capturing the troubled lives of a group of super privileged teens in the Reagan era. One reviewer in the US called it a ‘distant cousin of the Great Gatsby’ and this stylish novel will have great appeal for fans of American fiction in the vein of The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

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The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont

Jason Prosper grew up in the elite world of Manhattan penthouses, Maine summer estates, old boy prep school and exclusive sailing clubs. A smart, athletic teenager, Jason maintains a healthy, humorous disdain for the trappings of affluence, preferring to spend afternoons sailing with Cal, his best friend and boarding school roommate. When Cal commits suicide during this junior year at Kensington Prep, Jason is devastated by the loss and transfers to Bellingham Academy. There, he meets Aidan, a fellow student with her own troubled past. They embark on a tender, awkward, deeply emotional relationship, until a major hurricane hits the New England coast and Aidan's battered body is found on the beach in its aftermath. School officials rule her death a suicide, and Jason is horrified to draw the parallels between Aidan and Cal. He gradually realizes that Aidan's death was neither suicide nor accident, and is determined to uncover the terrible secret that has been buried by the boys he considers his friends.


'..a touching, beautiful and deeply wise novel, a hymn to the bittersweet glories of youth.'
Justin Cronin, Author Of The Passage With unflinching wit, Amber Dermont examines the harsh vicissitudes of life, and though the worlds she creates are often unsettling places, her sense of detail always makes for a pleasurable read. Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer and Orange Prize winning author of Gilead and Home

...engrossing...captivating and inspired...Dermont adeptly charts the fine calibrations of teenage love and shame and belonging. The New York Times Dermont draws the tony campus life in The Starboard Sea with an insider's hand... Jason has been compared to Nick Carraway for his sober narration and keen sensitivity to the decadence of his peers, and in more than a few instances The Starboard Sea feels like a distant cousin of The Great Gatsby. The Washington Post Engrossing...Captivating and inspired. Jason is a fiercely likeable first-person narrator and romantic hero. The steady, restrained unmasking of Jason's one of the novel's many achievements. But perhaps its greatest pleasure is the delight its characters take in the sea. Dermont's prose glides across the ocean...The language of sailing is lovely, both simple and elaborate, unexpectedly sexy and inexhaustibly metaphorical. Dermont writes about sailing with such precision and authority it's hard to believe she's not a salty old sea captain. She's as assured a writer as Jason is a sailor, coasting through the story with agility and grace...Dermont adeptly charts the fine calibrations of teenage love and shame and belonging. The New York Times Sunday Book Review Writing that will give you goosebumps...written in sparse yet evocative language...Aidan and Jason's tragic stories will stay with you. Psychologies Magazine Utterly convincing. Daily Mail

About the Author

Amber Dermont

Amber Dermont has published her short stories in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. She currently serves as an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

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Book Info

Publication date

17th January 2013


Amber Dermont

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Corsair an imprint of Constable and Robinson


320 pages


Literary Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Reading Groups
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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