The Dark of the Sea

Blouse & Skirt. Sept. 2019. 216p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9789768267238.
Gr 7-10–In his second novel, Baksh spins familiar mythological figures into a fresh new tale about the life of a boy in coastal Guyana. Fifteen-year-old Danesh has a great deal to contend with as he attends a poorly funded school, lives with dyslexia, and watches his friends and family deal with alcoholism, violence, and suicide. Danesh escapes these troubles when he encounters an underwater world inhabited by mermaids, monsters, and figures from Greek and Hindu mythology. Ultimately, he must fight to defeat an ancient evil that has long afflicted his family and community. Readers will likely relate to Danesh’s struggles as a young teen while gaining insight into a corner of the world that rarely receives attention. This story remixes themes from H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow over Innsmouth, inviting readers to dig deeper into the mythologies and histories that weave their way through Danesh’s story. Although satisfying, the narrative feels a little rushed at the end. It might have benefited from greater consideration of Danesh’s reality after his underwater adventure has closed.
VERDICT An imaginative coming-of-age story with a thought-provoking perspective; recommended for readers who enjoy modern retellings of mythological tales

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