Seahorse by Janice Pariat is a book that I added in my current reading list without any doubt.
Reason? Beautiful writing style of the author. Her first book, a collection of short stories, Boats on Land won the Sahitya Akademi Young Writer Award.
Seahorse is about Nem, a student of English Literature at Delhi University. Nem, already struggling with the ghost of his past, is inexplicably, deeply attracted towards an art historian Prof. Nicholas. Nem's life transforms completely as with his mentor he discovers the inner pleasure and his interest in art. Then, one day, without any warning, any note, any signs, Nem's mentor, Nicholas, disappears.
The blurb of the book says, "Retelling the myth of Poseidon and his youthful male devotee Pelops, Seahorse transforms a simple coming-of-age story into an epic drama of loss, love and healing.
Well, I think the book lacks the most important factor - Emotions of Loss!
Nem's thoughts hover around Nicholas and Lenny (a deeply bonded ghost from the past). But, the book tells very little about Nicholas, though he is a very important part of the story.
I am blown away, as expected, by Janice Pariat's beautiful writing. It's poetic that flows like a stream, gurgling sometimes, leaving vividly beautiful impressions. Her words weave a tapestry of imageries. She keeps her distinctive writing style that we have seen in her first book. Crisp like wintry mornings.
But, story wise, I am sorry, I am confused, and a little disappointed. I didn't get the clear voice of the story, its actual direction. At some points, ever after reading number of pages, the story stands still. There are some insignificant incidents, deeply described. The narration is very detailed and descriptive, frequently flashing between present and past. It somehow disrupts the flow and grip of the story.
Basically, this book, having a intriguing book cover, is not a typical entertaining book, it's a literary voyage, I'd say.
If you like reading intense literary book, it's highly recommended, but if you like reading light fiction, this book is not for you.
Overall, for me it was an unconventional (You don't find many such books), intense and complex read. But, I am glad I read this book. Ms. Janice Pariat remains my favourite and I look forward to her next book.
I received this book from Random House India for an honest review.