Samantha Hunt’s “The Seas”: A Book Review

In her debut novel “The Seas,” Samantha Hunt crafts a seamless and raw narrative about war, mysticism, parental loss and love. The narrative mirrors its setting, ebbing and bending between the narrator’s inner dialogue and the outside world, reflecting the awkwardness the narrator feels at being forced to live on land when she is elementally drawn to the ocean. There is a constant tension between water and land at work in this novel and almost every element, interaction, and characterization is skillfully based off this tension.

The story follows the story of a young girl of nineteen, stuck in a dead-end coastal town, bereaving the loss of her father, navigating her mother who “is regularly torn between being herself and being my mother,” the pain of loving an older man with PTSD, and her own belief that she is a mermaid. She also has a fascination with words, reflected in Hunt’s writing style, how she plays with word arrangement, colour, and setting.

The result is a beguiling piece, leaving the reader on edge and at the same time completely immersed in the moment through sharp imagery, emotion, and unpredictability.

Notable Quote: “Those cuts on my ribs are because I am trying to open gills before the flood comes.”

 

– Melody Dowdy