Sunday, 26 December 2010

The Seas

by Samantha Hunt

From the first words of prologue, this novel got me hooked. I liked its premise — a girl who think she is a mermaid falls in love with an Iraq war veteran — and the inventive language. Sometimes it gets really disturbing, but for the most part, it is a pleasure to read. Saying that, it would be so much better if it was a short story, or maybe several short stories. The mermaid’s mother, who grew up on the deaf people’s island, deserves a story of her own. And a name. It looks like, by the last third of the novel, the author got tired with all the writing, and the ending (if, really, this is an ending) is a let-down. Even so, I definitely want to read more of Samantha Hunt.

When Jude was in the war I liked to imagine how difficult it was to get my letters past the war censors with their big black markers. I doubt that there are actually censors anymore, but I’d imagine them all the same. Sometimes I thought that what I had written to him would arrive looking like this:
Dear Jude,
Today my ■■■■■■ and I found a ■■■■ It was a ■■■■■ with black and ■■■■■ spots on its ■■■■.
When Jude was in the war I cleaned empty hotel rooms for money. In most of the rooms a man had taken a woman or girl and loved her with her face against the wall so she couldn’t see him. When I cleaned at the motel I’d touch the wall with my own face. I’d pretend he was behind me. I couldn’t see him. He was in the war. The walls tasted like salt.

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