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Sea Monsters

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Pulsing to the soundtrack of Joy Division, Nick Cave, and Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sea Monsters offers an intoxicating portrait of Mexico in the late 1980s. One autumn afternoon in Mexico City, seventeen-year-old Luisa does not return home from school. Instead, she boards a bus to the Pacific coast with Tomás, a boy she barely knows. He seems to represent everything her l Pulsing to the soundtrack of Joy Division, Nick Cave, and Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sea Monsters offers an intoxicating portrait of Mexico in the late 1980s. One autumn afternoon in Mexico City, seventeen-year-old Luisa does not return home from school. Instead, she boards a bus to the Pacific coast with Tomás, a boy she barely knows. He seems to represent everything her life is lacking—recklessness, impulse, independence. Tomás may also help Luisa fulfill an unusual obsession: she wants to track down a traveling troupe of Ukrainian dwarfs. According to newspaper reports, the dwarfs recently escaped a Soviet circus touring Mexico. The imagined fates of these performers fill Luisa’s surreal dreams as she settles in a beach community in Oaxaca. Surrounded by hippies, nudists, beachcombers, and eccentric storytellers, Luisa searches for someone, anyone, who will “promise, no matter what, to remain a mystery.” It is a quest more easily envisioned than accomplished. As she wanders the shoreline and visits the local bar, Luisa begins to disappear dangerously into the lives of strangers on Zipolite, the “Beach of the Dead.” Meanwhile, her father has set out to find his missing daughter. A mesmeric portrait of transgression and disenchantment unfolds. Sea Monsters is a brilliantly playful and supple novel about the moments and mysteries that shape us.


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Pulsing to the soundtrack of Joy Division, Nick Cave, and Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sea Monsters offers an intoxicating portrait of Mexico in the late 1980s. One autumn afternoon in Mexico City, seventeen-year-old Luisa does not return home from school. Instead, she boards a bus to the Pacific coast with Tomás, a boy she barely knows. He seems to represent everything her l Pulsing to the soundtrack of Joy Division, Nick Cave, and Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sea Monsters offers an intoxicating portrait of Mexico in the late 1980s. One autumn afternoon in Mexico City, seventeen-year-old Luisa does not return home from school. Instead, she boards a bus to the Pacific coast with Tomás, a boy she barely knows. He seems to represent everything her life is lacking—recklessness, impulse, independence. Tomás may also help Luisa fulfill an unusual obsession: she wants to track down a traveling troupe of Ukrainian dwarfs. According to newspaper reports, the dwarfs recently escaped a Soviet circus touring Mexico. The imagined fates of these performers fill Luisa’s surreal dreams as she settles in a beach community in Oaxaca. Surrounded by hippies, nudists, beachcombers, and eccentric storytellers, Luisa searches for someone, anyone, who will “promise, no matter what, to remain a mystery.” It is a quest more easily envisioned than accomplished. As she wanders the shoreline and visits the local bar, Luisa begins to disappear dangerously into the lives of strangers on Zipolite, the “Beach of the Dead.” Meanwhile, her father has set out to find his missing daughter. A mesmeric portrait of transgression and disenchantment unfolds. Sea Monsters is a brilliantly playful and supple novel about the moments and mysteries that shape us.

39 review for Sea Monsters

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This novel is filled with wonder and surprise. Gorgeous passages evoke a sense of wanderlust, of comfortable dislocation and a sort of longed for isolation. It’s rare to find a novel that marries the post punk, gothic influences of my youth to the sun drenched, Oaxacan daydream of my current existence. Chloe Aridjis, someone skilled in the painterly art of wordscapes and with such an internationally replete experience, deftly explores this odd combination.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stewart Home

    The prose is beautiful & the narrative details Mexican goth subculture in the 1980s. The first part is set in Mexico City but the two teen protagonists run away to a beach town, which creates a wonderful tension between the geographical setting and the post-punk style favoured by our anti-heroes. The descriptions of music clubs are groovy, and our two goths have fabulous cinematic tastes - on a date they go to see a revival of Muñecos infernales (or Curse of the Doll People from 1961 as it's The prose is beautiful & the narrative details Mexican goth subculture in the 1980s. The first part is set in Mexico City but the two teen protagonists run away to a beach town, which creates a wonderful tension between the geographical setting and the post-punk style favoured by our anti-heroes. The descriptions of music clubs are groovy, and our two goths have fabulous cinematic tastes - on a date they go to see a revival of Muñecos infernales (or Curse of the Doll People from 1961 as it's known to English audiences). The seventeen year-old narrator visits the flat in which William Burroughs accidentally killed his wife and has Lautréamont's Les Chants de Maldoror as her beach reading. Perfect!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Catapult was kind enough to send me a galley of SEA MONSTERS, a novel about a teenage girl, Luisa, as she becomes obsessed with a strange boy named Tomas and eventually runs away with him to the seaside town of Zipolite in Oaxaca. There, the two drift apart, and Luisa becomes enraptured by the strangers who dot the Beach of the Dead. . But the main craft of the novel is in all of the strange and mesmeric transgressions of Luisa and the mysterious ways in which strangers shape our lives. Aridjis’ w Catapult was kind enough to send me a galley of SEA MONSTERS, a novel about a teenage girl, Luisa, as she becomes obsessed with a strange boy named Tomas and eventually runs away with him to the seaside town of Zipolite in Oaxaca. There, the two drift apart, and Luisa becomes enraptured by the strangers who dot the Beach of the Dead. . But the main craft of the novel is in all of the strange and mesmeric transgressions of Luisa and the mysterious ways in which strangers shape our lives. Aridjis’ writing is poetic and strange, but it moves well and she has a talent for understanding how the minute things in a person’s life affect who they are.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

  5. 4 out of 5

    BetweenLinesAndLife

    This was a buddy read with my dear friend Matthew. Thanks to him I could read this book early. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and tone of this book alongside the beautiful writing. Unfortunately I could not connect to the main character, in fact I found her to be a bit annoying. It also lacked a bit of reasons behind the actions, we got glimpses, but never quite got there and I personally felt the ending was rather arbitrary in regards of the timing. It felt like a great concept not meeting its f This was a buddy read with my dear friend Matthew. Thanks to him I could read this book early. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and tone of this book alongside the beautiful writing. Unfortunately I could not connect to the main character, in fact I found her to be a bit annoying. It also lacked a bit of reasons behind the actions, we got glimpses, but never quite got there and I personally felt the ending was rather arbitrary in regards of the timing. It felt like a great concept not meeting its full potential. Though I would recommend reading it for the atmosphere alone!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Catapult

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Jean

  10. 5 out of 5

    Friederike

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kristian

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maddie C.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  15. 4 out of 5

    Paula

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ari

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  18. 4 out of 5

    -matthew-

  19. 5 out of 5

    Oskari

  20. 5 out of 5

    César R. Luna

  21. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Hamilton

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ben Matosic

  23. 5 out of 5

    Meagan P. Kavouras

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Wren

  25. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Guillermo Fernandez

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Christensen

  28. 5 out of 5

    abcdefg

  29. 4 out of 5

    Colton

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sara G

  31. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Dartnell

  32. 5 out of 5

    James Beggarly

  33. 4 out of 5

    John

  34. 4 out of 5

    Rita

  35. 4 out of 5

    Einar Stenseng

  36. 5 out of 5

    Chelsey

  37. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

  38. 5 out of 5

    Elyse

  39. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

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