Sea Change: The Uncertain Realm of the Married
by Patsy Garlan
Katherine Somerset, a lovely woman married to a rich, charming man, with three well-behaved children and seemingly everything an educated, cultivated woman in her thirties could wish for, is unaccountably dissatisfied with her life. She realizes that her life is superficial and that perhaps there is another, deeper self, waiting to emerge. So she sets out on a journey—a journey of self-discovery—and falls under the spell of two totally inappropriate people. And so begins the awakening.
It is mid-November, 1963. Katherine (nicknamed Kat), her husband Charlie and their children are vacationing at an elite resort on a Hawaiian island.
The beauty of the island, the pleasures of golf, tennis and sailing, of lavish wining and dining, all conspire with a beguiling trial attorney (Hay) and his sister (Marge), a tennis champion, as they compete in the seduction of a bewitched Katherine.
The new decade is at the cusp of the expanding Civil Rights movement, of the rising tide of women’s rights and the Sexual Revolution, of the upcoming Vietnam War, with young people in open rebellion everywhere against the established order. Sea Change ends five days before the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas and the awakening of America. The onrushing events are an undercurrent of the story, and as Katherine challenges her customary, customized world, she is perhaps an embodiment of the changing times and a new generation of Americans.
The conflict is one of reason and passion in a period of complex, even chaotic, social and sexual mores, where the options are not only either/or but, sometimes, both/and. Rather like today . . .