Book Review || SEAHORSE by Janice Pariat- A tale of longing, quest, foreboding loss, letting go and finding again

(c) the_blog_of_Ruchi
(c) the_blog_of_Ruchi

If the author has a recommended song list to fill in more meaning and association to the words, the reviewer too should have a recommendation. Into the past by Nero was heard over and over again while penning down this review.

It was not a ‘who’ that killed Lenny but a ‘what’. It was the Seahorse. A metaphorical title so apt for the book whose synopsis contains what you can find inside, a tale of Poseidon and Pelops retold, to hint the least, but most, however  not all.

If Lenny was the distant and remote past, that is still fresh like an aftertaste on the tip of the tongue, Nicholas is definitely the ghost of past and future. Nem, Nehmiah, the clueless present, treading the path in front of him, being torn apart at every step with the past, that he can neither touch nor let go.

(c) the_blog_of_ruchi
(c) the_blog_of_ruchi

A tale that swiftly moves from there to here, here to there and back to here again. A book without chapters.  A fluid book, that just flows. Looking back everything connects, making everything relevant, each syllable precious in it’s own way. It’s a book that sucks you in, minute by minute, into loss and foreboding loss, a creeping melancholy that stitches together the words, sentence by sentence into a book that is beautiful in more words than one.

It’s Nem’s web of loss and journey towards perchance meeting post sudden and abrupt answerless parting. Life, death and life once again. The common weakness of all us humans that maybe makes us human is our need to seek closure, to make peace with things we can’t find an answer to and in order to seek this closure we move like a puppet tied to an invisible string of the unwilling willingness and we are lost till we find what we are looking for…. an end..a full stop.. period. To be able to point to an intangible solid beginning and an ending. But there is no beginning and there is no ending. Everything is ‘in midst of things’ and there is a ‘beauty in unfinished’.

(c) the_blog_of_Ruchi
(c) the_blog_of_Ruchi

A world of sexuality is opened to the reader, where no identity of a term ‘Gay’ can be fixed; no compartmentalization is being done, but is considered as a medium of expression of desire of one sex towards both sexes. It’s as simple as the sexual nature of a Seahorse, who has a preference towards both sexes, without discrimination, maybe suggesting that nature treats all it’s beings equally, and only opposite sexes is the way of continuation of life, pleasure is but a different domain, discretionary to individual choices and their independence of expression for desire.  It may not in fact be an abnormality in the law of nature but a beauty in variety in the universe of the creator. This theme makes the book bold, unique, and open to further interpretation.

(c) the_blog_of_Ruchi

Janice, has a book in her pocket that lulls you into a trance slowly and steadily, removing you from your current state of doing and not doing. It’s not just the protagonist living the story but it’s you walking by his side going through each and every vivid memory (For ‘isn’t consciousness memory?’). A book so dreamy, that it feels like a sin to wake up when it ends. But for me (others, including the author may differ) the book was complete before the epilogue.  ‘In the midst of things’….The closing should have been in medias res.

(c) the_blog_of_Ruchi
(c) the_blog_of_Ruchi


Your nerdy book reviewing faffer,



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  1. The quotes that I’ve seen so far from the book are really nice & make me want to get the book in order to enjoy them much more

  2. Oh! I so wish I could hear Janice Pariat read this story out. Having lived in Shillong for 3 years and having left behind a piece of my heart in the hills, I know the quality of literature that just booms and echoes out of the hills! ‘Boats on Land’ was just the most beautiful work by any Indian author in the recent past. So looking forward to reading ‘Seahorse’ and getting lost in the waves of magic that flows from Ms. Pariat’s pen.

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