Beyond the Sea

Paul Lynch. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25 (192p) ISBN 978-0-374-90835-5
This haunting tale from Lynch (Grace) depicts the evolution of a friendship forged while adrift on an unforgiving ocean. With a storm approaching and desperate to bring in a day’s catch, Bolivar, an experienced fisherman in an unnamed country, takes Hector, a novice fisherman, out to sea. The two ignore a storm warning and depart the safety of the lagoon for Bolivar’s usual distant fishing spot. Soon, what begins as a huge haul becomes a terrifying ordeal as the storm nearly sinks the ship. Without a radio, GPS, or a motor, the men end up adrift in the ocean for over a year. The initial quick pacing gives way to languid, sparse chapters in which the men explore their relationships, values, and spirituality: “He studies the chalk face of the moon and speaks to it as an old friend.” The many harsh “days of hammering sun” are marked by the rationing of water and strips of fish, and studded by moments of “soaring happiness” that capture a peaceful “stillness growing between Bolivar and Hector that is also an understanding.” Lynch’s enchanting tale reveals the stark beauties that come from struggling to live at the mercy of the natural world. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 03/20/2020
Genre: Fiction
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