Starred review at Kirkus Reviews
Earthy, vigorous characters and prose ground the narrative in the world we know, yet its themes are deep as the sea. Daniel, son of a human father and his seal wife, wonders why “whosoever’s pain I thought of, it could not be resolved without paining someone else.” Intentions and actions, cause and effect are untidy and complicated, raising questions that will require generations to answer.
Bracing, powerful, resonant.
This follows on from an earlier starred review from Booklist
Though this is a more reflective affair than some of Lanagan’s feistier works, her writing is as sumptuous as ever: a fine mist of lyrical elegance and sharp anguish that offers vast spaces to get lost in. The passage in which a boy joins his mother in seal form is pure poetry, expressing the inexpressible: “the best I can do is overlay a skin of man-words on the grunt and urge and song and flight and slump of seal-being.” A haunting, masterfully crafted novel that, as one should by now expect from Lanagan, isn’t a bit like anything else.