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Gina Chung

Forfatter af Sea Change

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Værker af Gina Chung

Sea Change (2023) 130 eksemplarer

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*Publication Day - March 28, 2023*

“I’ve often wished that human bodies were as clever as those of octopuses. If we could divvy up the work of one heart among three, if we could have a semiautonomous brain in each of our appendages, perhaps we’d be more efficient with our time, less likely to waste it on grudges and hurts and all the things we feel we can’t say to one another.”

It has been fifteen years since Ro’s (Aurora) father, a marine biologist employed with a local aquarium disappeared, on a research trip. Her father’s love for marine life is something he shared with Ro ever since she was a child. Ro’s fascination with sea animals prompted her to take up a job in the same aquarium in the field of animal husbandry. Ro, now in her thirties and employed with the aquarium for over eight years, feels a special connection to Dolores a giant Pacific octopus that was one of her father’s finds and feels that Dolores can understand her and vice versa. Ro misses her Apa and harbors hope that one day he will return. Her relationship with her mother is strained and her best friend Yoonhee, who is also employed with the aquarium is busy planning her wedding and seems to be distancing herself from Ro. Ro, heartbroken after her recent breakup with her boyfriend Tae who was selected for a mission to Mars, is struggling with her loneliness, memories of her father and tension-filled exchanges with her mother. As the narrative moves back and forth between the past and present we get to more about Ro’s Korean immigrant parents, and their troubled marriage which has impacted how she perceives commitment and relationships. Adding to Ro’s unhappiness is the fact that the aquarium, hard-pressed for funds, is negotiating the sale of Dolores to a private buyer who wants to add Dolores to his private collection. The narrative follows RO as she navigates through all these changes occurring in her life, deals with past trauma and disappointments and rethinks her priorities, finding a way to accept all that has happened and make plans for her future.

Sea Change by Gina Chung is a moving story that touches upon themes of family dynamics, loss and grief, love and friendship and self-acceptance. Ro is flawed and in that she is real and relatable. Her struggles mostly stem from her past trauma and her inability to be kind to herself, which holds her back from investing in her personal relationships and prompts her to drown her sorrows in alcohol. I was particularly moved by how the author addresses the complicated relationship between Ro and her Umma and the factors that contributed to their strained relationship. I loved the descriptions of the animals in the aquarium and the information on sea animals and cephalopods in particular. The author draws our attention to the state of animals in captivity and how kindness and compassion are imperative in not only nurturing human relationships but also our relationships with all living creatures and the environment in general. The author also touches upon how the increase in environmental pollution and climate change is adversely impacting the living conditions of marine animals. I would have enjoyed more scenes with Dolores and maybe I was expecting more of those interactions. But ultimately this story is about Ro. The author balances the melancholic and depressing tone of the novel with splashes of humor and I’m glad that the story ends on a hopeful note. This is an impressive debut novel and I’ll be looking forward to reading more from the author in the future.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Knopf, Pantheon, Vintage, and Anchor, for the digital review copy. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
… (mere)
srms.reads | 3 andre anmeldelser | Sep 4, 2023 |
The three star rating I'm giving this is mainly due to the fact that I don't have the background to relate to the immigrant experience.
wandaly | 3 andre anmeldelser | Jul 26, 2023 |
How are there so many books with octopuses and disaster girls out there? This was a great character study on change and grief. I love these books that are focusing on the millennial conundrum of still feeling like you're "coming of age" in your thirties.
KallieGrace | 3 andre anmeldelser | Jul 13, 2023 |
What a wonderful and magical book!!! I savored every word.
BevFuller | 3 andre anmeldelser | Apr 19, 2023 |


½ 3.6

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