Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Done: "Sea Creatures" by Susanna Daniel

Done: Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel, 2013,

Committee novel.

Short version: Woman and family move to Miami.  Woman decides to divorce.  Hurricane Andrew arrives.

Long version (with spoilers): Georgia, her husband Graham, and their three-year-old Frankie leave north Chicago for Miami.  They are leaving under a cloud.  There was some sort of scandal.  Graham has found a job at a local oceanic research body and Georgia is happy to be back in her hometown.

They buy a houseboat, dock the boat in the canal behind her father's house, and start to adjust.  Graham has a severe sleeping disorder.  He refuses to sleep because when he does he sleep walks.  His sleep walks have caused significant trouble in the past.  When his body finally runs down after days of wakefulness he takes strong sleeping meds and straps his wrist down to keep him from wandering.

Meanwhile, Frankie does not speak.  Frankie has no physical issues, he hears fine and is able to speak, but he refuses to.  Georgia is worried but hopeful about Frankie. Graham gets upset and frustrated with Frankie.  Graham has trouble sitting still and spending time with Frankie.  The marriage is not solid.

Georgia gets a job as part-time assistant to an artist, Charlie, who never lives his ocean house in Stiltsville.  Georgia and Frankie enjoy going to Charlie's.  They become pals.  Frankie relaxes there and starts to say a word now and then.

More things happen.  Georgia - who tells the tale - worries about Frankie.  Georgia starts getting hot for the much older Charlie.  Georgia tells how she how to talked reluctant Graham into having a child.  Georgia tells tale of Graham's sleep walking that has caused minor scandal and lost him tenure back in Chicago.  How is Graham's sleep walking related to Frankie's selective mutism?  Graham takes a job on a research vessel anchored in the Atlantic.  Graham's absence and Charlie's attention get Frankie talking.  Frankie wonks his head in a fall.  Frankie goes to hospital.  Hurricane Andrew arrives.  Hurricane Andrew causes commotion.  Graham dies in storm.  Charlie leaves town.  Charlie gives Georgia the big house and plot he refuses to live on.

1.  I never finished Stiltsville.  That novel did not have enough action for me.  This does have more going on but is still "domestic fiction".  It's a story about marriage, and family, and being a parent (mom), and grief over a dead parent, and dealing with stress.  Not my cup of tea.
2.  Whenever the next big hurricane hits just wait a couple days for news photographers to find a fat guy holding a shotgun and posing behind a plain plywood sign spray-painted with "Looters Will be Shot".
3.  The parts about sleep disorders and mutism were interesting.

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