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A handful of disparate lives converge at a remote seaside inn: a lovelorn professor, a renowned painter, an inscrutable seductress - and a beautiful young girl, fatally ill, brought to the sea by a desperate father's last hope. An intricate web of destinies and associations begins to reveal itself, but it is not until the arrival of a mysterious sailor called Adams that the truth in all its dreamlike beauty and cruelty becomes clear. Adams may furnish the key to the girl's salvation, but only the fulfilment of his obsessive secret purpose - to answer murder with murder - can conclude the journey that has brought him from the ends of the earth. Alternately playful and profoundly serious, Baricco's novel surges with the hypnotic power of the ocean sea.

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