Cover Image: Sea State

Sea State

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I was expecting something more investigative rather than a memoir. As is it, Sea State is as much about oil rig workers as it is about Tabitha Lasley's love affair with one of them. I did finish the book (it's a short read) and enjoyed the scathing sense of humour, but I don't feel like I've learnt that much about oil rig workers after reading it. For one thing, the author doesn't set foot on an oil rig (something that's admittedly difficult for a woman but not impossible; I remember Amy Liptrot mentioning she worked as a cleaner on one of them for a spell in The Outrun), and her research is solely based on interviews with men she catches in pubs when they go through Aberdeen. Sea State is not an uninteresting book, but it left me with the impression that Tabitha Lasley would be a better novelist than a journalist.
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Having previously worked in the oil industry in a corporate role and spent some time in Aberdeen, I was really interested in this non-fiction account of life on the rigs and ‘men when there are no women around’. There’s some colourful background gained from over a hundred interviews with men working offshore but mostly this is the story of the author and a failed relationship - it’s fairly short-lived and she makes a lot out of not much but it’s a beautifully written account. Full disclosure, the author and I have mutual acquaintances but this is an unbiased review in exchange for an ARC, many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher.
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This book sounded great, very interesting and it could have been had there been more about the men who work on oil rigs and a lot less of the author’s ramblings and maybe either written a memoir or concentrated solely on the workers.  It was very hard to feel any sympathy for anyone who behaves the way the writer did.  The few bits that were about life on the rigs and factual information was enjoyable but sadly not the rest of it.  It was a struggle to read the whole book as it was confusing plus I wasn’t keen on how it was written.  Shame as it had promise.
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Sea State is a misleading book, from the outset this is clear. Do not expect an expose on unfettered masculinity on an oil rig, Tabitha never makes it offshore. Instead, she flees a relationship in London and moves to Aberdeen.

She doesn't make it past the nearest pub and starts interviewing offshore workers. She falls for one of the first men she interviews and embarks into an affair that is doomed to fail. It is clear that the man will never leave his wife and Tabitha spends a good chunk of the book catching up with us on that realisation.

The beauty of the book lies in this, Tabitha writes beautifully about how she craves for her lover on an almost celullar level.

So, forget notions of tales of derring do on offshore installations, this is a dive into misplaced love and slow realisation.

Still, for what it is instead of what it purports to be, this is a well written and interesting read. Tabitha Lasley has a strong voice and the gift of writing. I will be looking out for her future books.
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A candid examination of the life of North Sea oil riggers, and an explosive portrayal of masculinity, loneliness and female desire.  There was so much in this book that could at any given moment been unpacked further but was contained for the time being in just over 200 pages. Lasley keeps some of her cards close to her chest, I really can't wait to see what she writes next. 

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

3.5/5.
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Wow, I haven't stopped thinking about this book since I first started reading just over a week ago. Journalist Tabitha Lasley has an idea for a book and sets off to base herself in Aberdeen while she researches the topic of the men working offshore. She carries out over 100 interviews and things take a different turn soon after she arrives. This book is a fascinating account of men working on oil rigs as well as some history about the rigs themselves. Tabitha herself plays a big role in this book too and whilst not everyone will agree, I feel the mixing of her personal life and those of the men working offshore makes this book very compelling. 

I just feel this book is completely unique. I love Tabitha's writing style, I feel she has given me real sense of what Aberdeen is like as a place. From a few interviews I have read I get the feeling it's been a long journey going from initial idea to getting 'Sea State' published. I really admire the author's perseverance with such a fascinating topic  and for seeing the book come to fruition. I hope 'Sea State' does well and I look forward to reading more from the author.

Thanks to 4th Estate and NetGalley for the ARC.
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An intimate  read a story of the authors life nothing held back.She shares her personal life full of ups and downs  Her look at men on  oil rigs living their isolated men only existence.I was caught up by this well written book that kept me turning the pages.#netgalley#4thestate
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Wow ok, so I have some thoughts on this book. 

If you're intrigued by the part in the blurb where it mentions that the book is about the men who work on oil rigs, and, like me, you decide to pick up a copy of the book for this reason, I would advise you to proceed with caution.

Because while this is a book about men who work "offshore", this is most definitely more a memoir about Lasley herself and her experiences interviewing these men, rather than educating the reader on the offshore drilling industry or what it's like to work on one.

The author decides to move to Aberdeen in her mid-30s after a failed relationship, to "see what men are like with no women around". But this is a flawed hypothesis from the outset: so much of the narrative focuses on her interactions with these men - in fact she begins an affair with one of the (if not the) first offshore worker she interviews - that the author is the main protagonist in the book, and, being a woman, means pretty much all she learns about (all that we see in the book, anyway) is about what these men are like around her. It appears that she interviews these men almost exclusively in bars and pubs, whilst drinking herself. 

A minor niggle, but none of the women in this book were portrayed in a sympathetic manner, which bothered me as well. 

I appreciate that the above is pretty critical, but in spite of these criticisms I read this pretty quickly and enjoyed the author's writing style. It's just a shame this wasn't the book I was led to believe it would be from the blurb and that I finished it still knowing very little about life offshore - I do know which bars to avoid if I'm ever in Aberdeen, mind.
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I loved this book! I was expecting something along the lines of Lamorna Ash but I found it much more personal and wild. I loved the structure and how the research blurs with her own experiences, both current and past. It was difficult to read, at times, due to its honesty and brashness. But I commend the author for it. And it is definitely a book that is hard to place which makes it all the more unique. But I absolutely ripped through it and I look forward to its publication. I hope it is received well.
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