I’ve just about wrapped up the short story collection Feeling Very Strange, which I wrote about a little earlier. Before a big talk about the book, here’s a standout worth mentioning: “Sea Oak” by George Saunders. If you recognize that name, he’s the guy who wrote Lincoln in the Bardo (2017 Man Booker Prize winner), a novel I also talked about earlier, and loved. Though I didn’t realize while reading “Sea Oak” it was by him. This is mainly because I was chuckling at the sheer absurdity of the story, and was surprised by just how… well, creative it was. And absurd—again very, very absurd.
I’d almost not ruin any plot point of “Sea Oak,” but I’ve found that it was actually shot as a pilot for Amazon recently. The synopsis for the show says what generally happens in the story, which is the destitute aunt of three deadbeat adult siblings dies, then comes back from the dead. And when she comes back she decides to whip her nephew and nieces into shape. The story has a lot of strong and ridiculous language, and though I haven’t seen that in the previews I can find, the clips I’ve seen are only from when the aunt is alive (it isn’t until after she comes back that she becomes crazy… of course). Also, the aunt in the show is played by Glenn Close. Check out the pictures, and without me saying who the actor was, I wonder if you’d recognize her.
I don’t want to say more about the story than I already have. If you liked Lincoln in the Bardo, or if your tolerance for ridiculousness is high, “Sea Oak” the STORY is probably one of the most unique things you could ever read. The SHOW, on the other hand, looks like it didn’t get picked up—Amazon shot it but didn’t take it to a full season. And I’d have to say, the clips look a little boring. But don’t let that stop you from picking out this George Saunders… classic? Or something? Seriously, I don’t know what to make of “Sea Oak” AT ALL. It’s worth a read, however, if you really want to see what The New Yorker is publishing these days, ha ha (though really, they published the story)!
–Jeff and Leah