The story is a retelling of Poseidon’s love for his youthful devotee Pelops. The protagonist is Nehemiah, who after having lost one of his closest friends, feels depressed and disjointed. Then he meets art historian Nicholas and falls in love, but then out of nowhere Nicholas leaves without any warning and Nememiah is forced to pick up the pieces and move on, but that is not as easy as it would seem. From Shillong to Delhi to London, we see how Nememiah deals with loss, being true to himself and adjusting to the changes in his life. The book is divided into three halves; personally I am a bit biased towards the first half because I couldn’t stop reading it.
Seahorse is essentially a love story with a dollop of mystery thrown in, and will keep you guessing till the very end. Personally, I think one of the best things about the book is that it moves from past to present and then back again without missing a beat, and that is the mark of good storytelling. The author also brilliantly explores the feeling of grief, loss and guilt. More often than not, writers tend to get melodramatic when it comes to expressing emotions like loss and grief but she keeps it restrained and maybe that helped her do justice to these complex human emotions that are difficult to put into words.
Although the general mood of the book is a little melancholic, it doesn’t make you feel like getting under the covers and staying there for days, it instead makes you understand your own loss or grief, whatever you may have gone through or whatever you are going through, in a whole new way that will help you gain a fresh perspective, atleast that was what happened to me. I am not going to lie, but I did feel a little disappointed with the ending, but even then I still have to admit that I enjoyed my Seahorse experience. I recommend the book, not only because she is a talented writer from the Northeast who deserves your attention but because I have rarely come across a book that has described loss and grief so genuinely and so beautifully.
Author: Janice Pariat || Publisher: Random House India
Review by Meeta Borah