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There are some novels I don't want to speak too much about; I don't want to dilute the thrall they held me in. This book was beautiful and mournful and full of raw wonder, and it lives inside me now. — Cathy Taylor
It would be easy to write off Samantha Hunt's nineteen year old female narrator as unreliable and delusional, drowning in her own solitude and sorrow in her soggy, salty northern coastal home. Submersing herself into the whole mermaid mythos, after all, would be a fairly logical madness given the grey-blue existence that has consumed her remote world since her father walked into the sea twelve years prior. Of course he may not have walked into the sea, per se, from the aqua-marine perspective of our heroine; he simply, unavoidably, returned to it. Which of course is fate fulfilled if that's where he came from.
From the beginnings of this love and pain-racked little gem of a novel, Hunt weaves a dual reality that leaves the reader enthralled. We do not need to know if our water-logged young guide is truly a maiden of fantasy or simply living in her own crazed mind; both realities are truth. There is no need to explain away all of her wet visions, preoccupations and fantasies; they are every bit as real as the dry “rational” explanations the world may offer. The submersive, hopelessness of her impossible love scenario with the older, war-wrecked fisherman Jude is a salt-stained watercolor portrait of the wrathful power, ridiculousness and abject suffering of unrequited love.
Bring an open mind, an open heart and... a towel. Hunt's "The Seas", a re-release from 2005, will saturate you with its imagery and its longing.
Moored in a coastal fishing town so far north that the highways only run south, the unnamed narrator of The Seas is a misfit. She's often the subject of cruel local gossip. Her father, a sailor, walked into the ocean eleven years earlier and never returned, leaving his wife and daughter to keep a forlorn vigil. Surrounded by water and beckoned by the sea, she clings to what her father once told her: that she is a mermaid.
True to myth, she finds herself in hard love with a land-bound man, an Iraq War veteran thirteen years her senior.The mesmerizing, fevered coming-of-age tale that follows will land her in jail. Her otherworldly escape will become the stuff of legend.
With the inventive brilliance and psychological insight that have earned her international acclaim, Samantha Hunt pulls readers into an undertow of impossible love and intoxication, blurring the lines between reality and fairy tale, hope and delusion, sanity and madness.