The Seas

Samantha Hunt

Early on something about this book reminded me of Among other things, I’ve taken up smoking, I think because both are set around the ocean in the northeastern part of the US. But any notion of similarities beyond setting dissipated quickly.

This book is far more melancholy in tone and fantastic in scope, with a 19-year-old outcast who believes honestly that she is a mermaid and that her father who disappeared into the sea eleven years past is also a merperson, who finally decided to return home. She follows around a 33-year-old Gulf War veteran who she believes to be the mortal who must love her or he’ll have to die. Her mother is still waiting around watching the ocean with binoculars and telling her she should go to New York City. Her grandfather is endlessly typesetting his own dictionary to rival the Oxford English Dictionary (and apparently never printing anything, so he must have an impressive stockpile of type).

You can never quite decide if you believe she’s a mermaid or think she’s delusional or just find her incredibly imaginative in dealing with trauma.