My rating: 4/5 stars
About this book:
Set amidst the physical and psychological landscapes of New Zealand’s southern hills and grasslands, Beneath Pale Water is a social realist and expressionistic novel that follows a triangle of three damaged individuals – a sculptor, a vagrant and a model – who have grown calcified shells against the world. Their search for identity and belonging leads them into dangerous territory that threatens both their sanity and lives. As their protective shells crack they are left vulnerable – both physically and emotionally – to the high country winds and their own conflicts that, ultimately, might free – or destroy them.
Realistic Fiction, it is not a genre most people are familiar with and for those who hope to find an escape in this book, this book will be a disappointment. It very aptly depicts the modern urban life and the feelings of modern day characters, but that is not always a happy sight, though it is the most realistic.
As I began reading this book, I was lost by the amazing prose and writing style. I knew that this book, no matter the plot would be a good read because the writing would save the day. In the end, that is what happened.
I can’t say that this book would be everyone’s taste, instead, I think it will have a very limited audience. But the book does carve a niche for itself. When I read about the sculptor and the nomad, living their lives through the pages of this book, I felt them to be very familiar characters. Yes, there is a sense of melancholy in this book which is ever-existing but ain’t that true for life too? Even in the happiest of moments, humans tend to hold on to some sadness at the back of their minds. Some things are just unavoidable and some feelings exist in each one of us.
The reason why I liked this book was that it showed how love or loss is not something as romantic as shown in books and movies. It gave a very real picture of what grief is like. Very few authors have that capability of staying true to the characters and I must say Thalia did it well. She probably has a good observational power or perhaps these moments are something she would have experiences herself.
No matter what the reason behind such writing, I must say that this book will remain on my shelf as one of my liked reads because of its uniqueness. It might not have become a favourite but it is still something extraordinary.