What Stella Sees, Sarah Kornfeld’s complex debut novel, is about convergence and displacement. Above all, it is about perception: the consequences of its absence and the obligations of its presence. Young Stella is ill, it seems, with a peculiar form of epilepsy that eludes diagnosis and treatment. Her parents Rachel and Michael are in the throes of divorce, increasingly estranged from their own selves as well as one another, while they careen off specialists and medical regimes, a process that takes them from New York and San Francisco to Paris in search of a cure for their daughter. Yet Stella sees other things, too. Her seizures are a kind of vision-state in which she is able to explore the ocean depths, discovering real and imagined creatures that inform her art – the art of creating worlds of meaning inside the tiny whorls of seashells.