It’s hard to tell whether [the characters'] differences are temperamental, cultural or generational, because everything we see is such a highly compressed artefact of the way Lynch narrates. Time, subjective and objective, particularly interests him. It moves so slowly for the men in the boat, he assures us ... Lynch’s lyrical, deceptively sympathetic prose softens...but never evades ... This could easily have been one of those novels about what it is to be a man ... Instead, it turns into something more lyrical but at the same time colder and more shocking, much more self-aware ... Lynch demonstrates a control over his ideas that comes from a pure lyrical telling, a speech act that, if you let it, will take you anywhere. Beyond the Sea is frightening but beautiful.
... the stark, mesmerizing book reads like an existential argument between...irreconcilable truths, a Beckett play bobbing in the open water ... If the two characters seem schematically opposed—will versus fate—Mr. Lynch takes pains to confuse their relationship, changing it from mood to mood into something bitter, paternal, generous or adversarial. The novel’s foundations are like the ocean, too unfixed and unfathomable to allow the philosophical disputes to advance in a linear fashion. Both men appear courageous or cowardly, insane or transcendently wise, depending on the angle of the sunlight—as if the immensity of the setting renders even the firmest distinctions indistinct ... Mr. Lynch’s prose style is suitably rationed and sun-cured ... Though bare and isolated, this fine book contains multitudes of experience.
Lynch manages to transform a news story into a universal tale of friendship and endurance and love ... Beyond the Sea is elemental. It is a story sliced to the bone. It compels the reader to look unblinkingly at matters of life and death, at the heart of what it means to be fully human. Lynch puts the reader on that small boat in the blank Pacific, implying that in a profound sense we are all there and must face the same questions that Bolivar and Hector are forced to face.