the silver dark sea

We walked a while through a shivery, old-smelling rain today. It was only a brief shower, the first we've had in weeks, and afterwards the world was even more humid than before. We're in the thick of summer now. Even the sea breezes are hot.




Last night I read The Silver Dark Sea by Susan Fletcher. It is one of those books so poignant, they make you ache when you read them. I couldn't go straight through - I dipped in, back and forth, reading some paragraphs deep, skipping whole pages, until I had the sense of the entire story.

At first, I was bemused by reports of its gorgeous, lyrical language. I found it quite plainly written. But the magic weaves through the story like quiet, glistening weeds until you gradually come to realise that the words are thick with it. The cadence of the language, the lingering echo of the sea washing through, is done expertly. Also, the way I read it, randomly and dreamily, helped to draw out that lovely, fragile, watercoloured magic.


“He thinks he can see all her grief in her face, all her love and empty days.”

I must admit, there are some aspects that weren't to my taste. For example, the dialogue is in italics instead of speech marks, and I have never been able to bear that kind of thing. But please take that as less about the novel and more about my own literary education, beliefs, and preferences. This is a novel which pulls you in deep to strange ways until you forget how to breathe. If you like that feeling of being encompassed, the same sort of feeling that comes with a poem or the lyrics of a sad song, or infact the sea itself, then you will love this book.

I think what will stay with me from The Silver Dark Sea is the gentle kindness and respect with which Susan treated her characters. I first came to know about her through mention of another book she wrote, Corrag. Its description made me wary of reading it, for I don't like too much sorrow - but now that I've read The Silver Dark Sea, I know I can trust Susan to do right by her story, and consequently by her readers. I'll be finding more books of hers to read.


Linking with Kim Klassen for Friday Finds.



5 comments:

  1. Oh yes, Corrag is such a beautiful and achingly wonderful read.

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  2. So inspired by your post, I went to the library's website to find the book. Was sad to find The Silver Dark Sea not even listed! Did order Corrag and will buy the other should I enjoy reading this one. Beautiful post!

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  3. Thank you both, I shall be reading Corrag myself as soon as I can get a copy.

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  4. Oh do read Corrag. It is one of the best things I've ever read. And by the way, I found the Silver Dark Sea much more devastating. Corrag is a wild work of wonder, and I cherish it. Enjoy!! xo

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  5. what you wrote:
    This is a novel which pulls you in deep to strange ways until you forget how to breathe. If you like that feeling of being encompassed, the same sort of feeling that comes with a poem or the lyrics of a sad song, or infact the sea itself, then you will love this book.

    i think that is a wonderful thing to say!

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