Lights on the Sea – Miquel Reina

Lights on the Sea is a mythic story of a meek retired couple on the adventure of their lives.

lightsontheseaHarold and Mary Rose Grapes lead an isolated existence in their small yellow house perched on the edge of a cliff. Facing eviction due to the government deeming their house unsafe, Harold and Mary Rose go to bed after packing their belongings, resigned to accepting the inevitable. They wake in the morning, however, to find themselves in their little house adrift in the middle of the ocean. During the night the house had plunged off the cliff, and because it was built on porous volcanic rock, Harold and Mary Rose are now bobbing like a cork in the yellow house, destination unknown.

Faced with dwindling resources and terror of the open sea, Harold and Mary Rose are stressed to the limits of endurance. The couple also bears the additional burden of grief that cripples their daily life. They meet some others along the way, outsiders from a different culture who help them with their physical survival and their mental stagnation.

Although the message can be heavy-handed towards the end, it is sympathetic nonetheless. Part tall tale, part love story, Lights on the Sea would appeal to any generation of reader.

Many thanks to Miquel Reina, Netgalley, and AmazonCrossing for this advance copy in exchange for my review.

 

 

Tale of a Tooth – Allie Rogers

toothPrecocious Danny is 4-years-old and lives with his beloved mom, Meemaw, in their derelict Sussex flat, struggling to get by. Besides Meemaw, Danny loves two things: his best friend, a plastic dinosaur named Spiny, and watching a dinosaur documentary on his mom’s cracked iPhone, Tale of a Tooth. Life is bearable for Meemaw and Danny until Karen comes into their lives. Meemaw is smitten with her, but Danny never warms to her, referring to her in the worst language he knows, a “horrible poo”.

Tale of  a Tooth is a story of abuse and poverty, but also a tender story of love between a mother and son. Told through Danny’s perspective, the comparison to Emma Donoghue’s Room is inevitable, but, like Room, this child’s interpretation afforded a tenderness to an otherwise heartbreaking story. The reader also understands how Meemaw is feeling through Danny’s explanation of how her “color” is: red and pink when she’s first flushed with love for Karen, and later grey and brown when she’s reeling from betrayal and fear.

Though the subject matter is difficult, I enjoyed this book and Rogers’s finesse at presenting the effects of domestic abuse through the eyes of a child.

Many thanks to Edelweiss and Legend Times Group for this copy in exchange for my review.