The Sea Egg by Lucy M. Boston

The Sea Egg by Lucy M. Boston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hadn’t ever heard of The Sea Egg until a few days ago; I knew of Lucy M. Boston, of course, and although I rather loved the strange and gauzy light of her books (and the sad, wonderful heart of A Stranger At Green Knowe in particular), I have never had a lot of knowledge of her beyond that. This can happen. Some authors can become defined by one series and the twilight books that lie beyond that can slide past your notice. This is where second-hand bookshops come in, second-hand bookshops and time and a chance to browse and letting your eye slide past the things you know and dwell on the things that you do not. You’ll never know what stops you or why it catches your eye, but something will and that’s when the fun begins.

The Sea Egg then, a slender and graceful story, first published in 1967, and almost palpable with an endless Summery heat. There is a a feel of Minnow On The Say but also Susan Cooper, I think, that edge of finding the fantastical and the otherworldly in the intimate, known world. Maybe that’s not right, maybe it’s more that Susan Cooper quality of knowing that suddenly the world about you isn’t the world that you knew, that there’s something else here to discover, something that was there all along.

Plot wise, it’s straightforward and deceptively so. Two boys discover something unusual at a beach. That unusual turns out to be Unusual, in that delicious way that Boston can do so well. And her writing, my god, there’s some beauty here. I read many of the sentences over and over again, because stuff like “It was a magical morning with a silence like all the secrets in the world, and a light like happiness” will always do that for me. The grace of it!

There’s themes here of growth, of ‘that last summer before everything changed’, the onset of adulthood, the onset of loss, and it’s all so subtle, so softly done. I am made a bit breathless by it, and I think I’m gushing so you must forgive me for that but it is so. so. good. This is classy, big work by a writer who can move mountains and I am so glad I found it.

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3 thoughts on “The Sea Egg by Lucy M. Boston

  1. Oh, I am glad you’ve reviewed this, I hadn’t seen it before and was wondering how good it was!

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