Release Date: 12th February 2018
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
Publisher: Riversong Books
Hugo Larson is a retired accountant living in North Seattle. Having recently lost the person most important to him, he attempts to make a life for himself in spite of that gaping absence. While he spends his time swimming, gardening, and accomplishing the mundane tasks of everyday life, he also has several important relationships to manage. Adrian is Hugo’s caring but foolish son, a young man desperately in need of career guidance. Hugo’s brother, Martin, brims with positive energy and a life many would envy: a kind wife, an illustrious teaching career, and a darling granddaughter—but at the implications of retiring. Then there is Paul, a serene next-door neighbor and friend who is haunted by his own loss, who goes on adventures with Hugo through the city. Despite all this, Hugo faces the heaviness of existence, confronts towering questions, embraces and then pushes away those close to him. Through the course of one year, he faces his past, struggles with the present, and questions the future.
What waits for Hugo at the end of that year?
The Year Of Oceans by Sean Anderson is a sensitive book about dealing with loss, the overpowering and omnipresent grief that ensues and about individual growth. It was a very likeable read, albeit being on the heavier side of the spectrum.
It was very interesting to read about Hugo, the protagonist, and seeing his journey for an entire year after the loss of his beloved. Many times I found myself feeling a wide spectrum of emotions that the protagonist goes through – sadness, frustration, loneliness, disdain and emptiness. But as the book progresses, the author artfully shows the growth of the main lead in a way that felt very real and relatable.
I loved the writing of the author as it complimented the story well. The story had a good flow to it and I was able to navigate through it easily. I liked the story from start to end, and in spite of an unexpected ending, I felt it was very apt for the book.
The best part about this book, though, was that the subject of death and the grief that one has to cope with afterwards (which is a very tricky one) was handled, to my pleasant surprise, quite skillfully with the much-needed delicateness and subtlety. It was a bit hard for me to read this book as the subject of loss, personally, is agonising for me to handle, but I’m glad that the author respected a person’s sense of loss, in general, and worked gracefully around it, touching on the nerves only as required.
A wonderful book for a debut novel that I’d recommend to everyone and anyone who can handle reading about loss, grief and pain related to a close one’s death.