I’ve never heard a seagull laugh. Living by the sea I’ve heard them cry and scream and vent their landlocked frustration on the world around them when the weather closes in. But I’ve never heard them laugh. Or maybe in a perversion of reversion that IS their laugh. But the sound somehow seems fitting for this story of Malik, with mismatched eyes and fractured identity. Accompanied by Eqingaleq, a guiding spirit from Greenland legend, (reminded me of Lyra’s daemon, Pantalaimon) he searches for answers and meanings.
A multi narrated story the first part deals with Malik’s and that of his late father Rasmus an arctic obsessed explorer. The two histories work in tandem to offer the reader a complete a picture as possible of the two characters. But through the skilful story telling most of our sympathies remain with Malik. Further on in the second and third parts of the novel we learn of Martha, her story and her challenges. On the run with a friend, Martha and Malik’s paths cross and they briefly seek sanctuary in the Shetland Islands but Malik has questions he wishes to have answered and he continues his search.
‘Yet with every passing second I feel myself drifting further and further away from this fleeting moment of connection, until I realise that we are each adrift in our own ocean and the two do not share their waters.’
Thus surmises Martha after a moment of connection with Malik and a sense that they are both searching for something and it seems a fitting way to sum up their situation.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved Malik, his sensitivity and desire to please, the confusion of his origins and his place in the world and where other people might fit in. There was a deep sense of him being a very proper person in the sense that he possessed an intuitive understanding of the decent and human way to behave. He seems righteous, guileless and open. The sense of spiritualism running through the story, too, was fascinating. How Eqingaleq’s presence gave us such clues as to Malik’s state of mind and conscience.
The narrative flowed easily and informatively with some palpable descriptions of the diverse landscapes within the book. The hostile landscapes of Greenland to the more suburban, secular environment of Judith’s home. (Who’s Judith? Read the book! ;-))I felt a comparison between Greenland and Shetland, something to do with how remote both locations feel so they offer a paradox of being both distant yet offering a sanctuary of kinds. Is Malik swapping ‘Green’ for ’Shet.? There was a mystery, too, off sorts with the continued reappearance of ‘Birdie’. Is he the laughing seagull? An unusual book in some respects which is always a good thing for me! Thr nuances don’t allow the reader to sit back and relax, the reader has to sit back and READ!
Thank you Wild Pressed Books and LoveBooks Tours for this captivating tale.