Note: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I knew very little about Shome Dasgupta’s The Sea Singer before I began reading it. The extent of my knowledge was that it was something vaguely to do with magical realism, was on Accent Press’s spring 2016 Young Adult list, and had an intriguing title. Whatever I was expecting, I was not expecting to be quite as blown away as I was. The Sea Singer is genuinely beautiful, strange and brilliant novel, one of the most original I have read. I remain a bit bemused as to why it’s being marketed as YA – for me it was just a brilliant piece of magic realism. It combines the matter-of-fact eccentricity of Daniel Wallace’s Big Fish with the magical beauty of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children with the matter-of-fact tone of Andrew Kaufmann’s All My Friends Are Superheroes.
The book tells the tale of March, who is born in the month of April in a small town in India. She quickly proves a rather unusual child. March cannot close her eyes. From the moment of her birth, she cannot sleep. She sits and watches the world, and then she sings. In fact, March sings so beautifully and impressively that her mother in fact spent the whole of her pregnancy fast asleep, because the unborn March was singing her lullabies from the womb. That is the kind of novel this is. It is very weird and very brilliant.