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Cover of Seaview

Toby Olson


  • Introduction by Robert Coover
  • fiction
  • ISBN 0-9766311-6-4

Toby Olson’s PEN/Faulkner Award–winning novel Seaview follows its main characters, Allen and Melinda, across an American wasteland to return Melinda to her childhood home on Cape Cod; Melinda is dying of cancer and hopes to reach the seaside where she was born before her end comes. Allen earns their way east by golf hustling at courses en route. Outside of Tucson, the two meet a Pima Indian activist named Bob White who joins them on the remainder of their journey. Allen’s former friend, Richard, a drug-pusher whom he has crossed and who is now determined to murder him, follows closely behind, and the lines that draw these people together end at Seaview Links, the golf course where the novel reaches its apocalyptic ending.


1983 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

PEN/Faulkner Foundation

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Praise for Seaview

Everything in this brilliant, meditative vision of America is there to be lost as the characters, shaped by a state-of-not-knowing, acknowledge their emblematic roles and rehearse their leave-taking. Every day could be the last. In Seaview Toby Olson has sustained with a loving attention to detail one long ending of such beauty, courage and tenderness that it is more than a match for the concluding apocalyptic assault.

PEN/Faulkner Award Citation

Even a remarkable dreamer of nightmares like Nathanael West might have been hard-pressed to top the book’s finale … Seaview … is a very inventive work, unlike any other recent American novel in the freshness of its approach and vision.

The New York Times Book Review

The description of the game [of golf] is nicely and leisurely paced; it is suitably precise and concentrated, and the evocation of the players and the tensions that animate them is masterful.

The New Republic

Toby Olson is a superior writer of stylish and impelling prose, a storyteller of power, a recorder of human truths and a visionary.

Doris Grumback, National Public Radio