The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish

Katya Apekina. Two Dollar Radio (PGW, dist.), $16.99 trade paper (284p) ISBN 978-1-937512-75-0
Apekina’s ambitious debut begins in 1997, after teenage sisters Edith and Mae have moved to live with their father in New York City in the wake of their mentally ill mother, Marianne, entering a hospital for treatment. Edith, the older sister, wants to return to Louisiana to care for their mother, while Mae loves the distance and is enjoying getting to know their father, Dennis Lomack, a novelist who’s famous for his depictions of life during the civil rights movement. The girls grow further apart: Edith sets off for Louisiana to help her mother while Mae gets uncomfortably involved in her father’s creative process. Marianne, meanwhile, is portrayed only as a mentally unstable woman, never becoming a fully realized character. The novel attempts, with mixed success, to address many topics—such as mental illness, civil rights, family trauma, and sexual and artistic consent. Though there are some loose threads at the end, Apekina has nevertheless written a confident, piercing novel. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2018
Release date: 09/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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