Contented Reader

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The Fires Beneath the Sea

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The Fires Beneath the Sea

Lydia Millet

Small Beer Press

Lydia Millet owes a great deal to Madeleine L’Engle in The Fires Beneath the Sea.  At least, while I was reading this first book in a series for young adults, I was thinking of my experience reading A Wrinkle in Time.  There are three siblings, the youngest of which has strange and possibly supernatural powers.  There’s the missing parent, the marine biologist mother who disappeared several months before the book’s beginning, leaving only a cryptic note.  There are no angel/witches, but there is a large and improbably helpful tortoise.

And there’s a wonderful sense of place. Reading the opening chapters, I felt I really was transported from the Cincinnati chili parlor where I was reading to the streets of a Cape Cod town in late August, when the tourists have all gone back to their home and the place is both suddenly peaceful and oddly deserted.

It was easy to lose myself in this book.  I wanted it to keep going, and even though I’m reasonably sure that I have some good ideas about where the mother is, and where the story might be going (the word ‘selkie’ was casually dropped and forgotten at the midpoint of the book, and I’m pretty sure the author is planning to pick it up again), I’m still going to be buying the next volume as soon as it is released.





Written by Contented Reader

August 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Reviews


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