THE SEAS

Chris Rumble, Author
Chris Rumble, Author . Tricycle $23 (96p) ISBN 978-1-58246-120-5
Paperback - 95 pages - 978-1-58246-122-9
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-99969-4
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In this retelling of "The Little Mermaid," Hunt traps readers in an undertow of tragedy gripping a bleak Northern fishing town. A young woman meets Jude, a sailor whose experiences in Iraq have rendered him watery and insubstantial. Jude becomes both love interest and paternal figure for the girl, whose own father disappeared at sea years before. Convinced she is a mermaid, she believes her love dooms the mortal Jude, but she longs to take him into the ocean with her. The sea's presence is constantly felt in the bleak, isolated town. "There is little else to do here besides get drunk and it seems to make what is small, us, part of something that is drowned and large, something like the bottom of the sea...." Atmospherically, the book resembles Annie Proulx's The Shipping News , but in this story, chances for redemption are rare, and the line between reality and fairy tale is blurred. The girl's grandfather, a typesetter, fills her head with words and definitions, but despite determining to observe everything as a scientific experiment, she cannot find a way to define the wet footprints she finds in odd places, the strange things she sees on the beach and her drowning love for Jude. While Hunt occasionally hammers her themes too hard—in one instance even listing them for us—this book devastates with its lonely, cold imagery. Agent, P.J. Mark at Collins McCormick. (Nov. 8)

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