Reviews for Sea monsters : a novel

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In 1988, on a seeming whim, 17-year-old Luisa runs away from her home in Mexico City, accompanied by Tomás, a boy she scarcely knows. In a whimsical search for a group of Ukrainian dwarfs who have escaped from a Russian circus, the two travel to Oaxaca and its beach, Zipolite, the beach of the dead. Living rudely there, the two soon drift apart, and Luisa, at a beachfront bar, meets an enigmatic man she calls the Merman, whom she believes comes from a foreign country. She falls in love but then discovers the disquieting truth about the Merman. Soon thereafter, her father, who has been searching for her, discovers Luisa on the beach and takes her home. Fin. The critically acclaimed Mexican American author writes stylishly (beaches are a conversation between the elements ; weeds are like the soil's unbrushed hair ) but without drama. A description of Luisa's mood, a gloomy monotony, comes dangerously close to describing the book itself, though it does succeed in painting a portrait of Mexico at the time. Fans of character-driven fiction will find enough to like here, in spite of the relatively immobile story.--Michael Cart Copyright 2018 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
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In Aridjis's ethereal and ruminative debut, a new wave-loving teenage girl named Luisa, living in Mexico City, impulsively runs away from home with TomAˇs RomAˇn, an exotic and exciting boy she hardly knows. They head for Zipolite, the "Beach of the Dead" in Oaxaca, where Luisa hopes to find a missing troupe of Ukranian dwarves that she believes may be hiding in the area after escaping from a Soviet circus touring Mexico. Enmeshed in precocious Luisa's inner world, readers follow surreal fantasies and fascinations as she learns to dwell among Zipolite's population of nudists, beachcombers, hippies, and even a so-called merman while she searches for the dwarves. She also meditates on William Burroughs, Baudelaire, Laurteamont, historical curiosities such as the shipwreck where researchers discovered the mysterious Antikythera Mechanism, and, above all, her favorite bands, including Joy Division and The Cure. The book functions more like a mood piece than a traditional novel, a fitting choice in rendering Luisa and TomAˇs's life as runaways. Brilliant in her ability to get inside the head of her young narrator, Aridjis skillfully renders a slightly zonked-out atmosphere of mystery and the mind of a young romantic, resulting in a strange and hypnotic novel. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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