Sunday, May 28, 2017

Swimming in the Monsoon Sea Review #AsianLitBingo

The end of the #AsianLitBingo reading challenge is coming up in the next couple of days. If you've been following along with what books I've been reading, you'll know that I apparently don't know how to play bingo because I have been jumping around the board all willy-nilly. In an effort to actually complete one row, I decided to go ahead and read Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai for the LGBTQIAP+ Asian MC category.

I wasn't really sure what to expect going in to this book. The cover is really neat and I love the high saturation of the colors, which really evokes the summer feel for me. The synopsis seemed interesting, but the premise of the book is one that could easily be done really well or really terribly.

Overall, I thought the book was just okay. I liked that Amrith's sexuality was integral to the story, but it wasn't rushed or hyper-sexualized (he's 14 for goodness' sake!). However, the fact that he doesn't come to a full realization of his sexuality until the very end of the book, long after the reader does, made me detach from the story.

There were some really interesting characters in the book, but one of the main ones was Sri Lanka itself. Mr. Selvadurai has a gift at writing a vivid portrayal of his home country. I really enjoyed his descriptions of the sights, culture, and atmosphere of Sri Lanka, but his depictions ultimately detracted from the depth of the main story, which could have used more development. The language he used throughout the book, while good for scenery, was too flowery and plodding for the mood of the story as well.

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