When in bed unwell, and unable to sleep, a bibliophile’s best outlet is a good book. This book by Anees Salim has been on my TBR for a while now, and I’m glad I finally finished reading it.
The author’s narration style is dipped in inks of poignancy. Given the book begins with death and the moments before it, the last moments of Vappa, that is expected. But even in the teenage narrator’s voice, that can be seen through the novel.
I liked the small mischiefs Bilal and the narrator get into, the imagination of the children making a story of small things. That was fun to read. The descriptions were delectable too. Knowing Vappa was going to die kind of made it sad though.
And yet, life after Vappa’s death is what is sadder. I somehow think there are unsaid things there, slowly dissolving into loneliness for the narrator. I didn’t expect that. I wonder if the narrator deserved that, if that was how life went.
Even after I turn the last page, I somehow find myself drawn back to the secret beach, to the pirates, to Bilal, to Little, to the narrator and to the small-town sea that ties them all together. Apart from the sense of poignancy that accompanies it, I suppose that is a good thing.
Title: The Small-town Sea
Author: Anees Salim
No. of Pages: 280
Publisher: Penguin Books
Rating: 9 out of 10