Meet us by the roaring sea A novel

Akil Kumarasamy, 1988-

Book - 2022

"Alternating between the protagonist's present life and passages of a manuscript in translation, Meet Us by the Roaring Sea is a genre-bending exploration of memory, war, technology, friendship, love, consciousness, and the challenges of caring for others in an age where we are so often lost in our own minds"--

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FICTION/Kumarasa Akil
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1st Floor New Shelf FICTION/Kumarasa Akil (NEW SHELF) Due Oct 14, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Psychological fiction
Novels
Published
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2022.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
287 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780374177706
0374177708
Main Author
Akil Kumarasamy, 1988- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Kumarasamy (Half Gods, 2018) offers an ambitious, classification-defying novel that straddles the past and the future and offers deeply thoughtful commentary on the lines defining personal and collective identities. A translator in a highly digitized near future, whose day job involves morally problematic AI projects, is immersed in the lives of young women studying medicine in Southern India as she translates the written record of their progressive radicalization. There is acknowledgement of the trauma of war, the dehumanization of a digitized world, and an examination of the nature of creativity in this cyber-dominated time. Kumarasamy's nontraditional characterization and plot development work remarkably well in furthering the theme of unmoored individuals seeking their places in inchoate social contexts. The language, especially the references to the challenges of translation, adds to the impact of the story as it ties together individuals and histories across countries and continents. This is a compelling read that tackles some of the most urgent questions of our times, and Kumarasamy demonstrates restraint in not offering simplistic answers. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In this follow-up to Kumarasamy's Bard Fiction Prize-winning story collection, Half Gods, a young woman responds to her mother's violent death in a near-future Queens, NY, by working her way through language studies, artificial intelligence, and television, eventually translating an old manuscript about female medical students in a catastrophic world figuring out how best to help others. With the arrival of both a stranger and a childhood friend and the advent of a special AI project, the protagonist asks herself the same question. With 40,000-copy first printing. Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Kumarasamy's dazzling if sometimes unwieldy debut novel (after the collection Half Gods) follows a young woman as she tries to unpack the past amid an unforgiving near future. Ada, 26, works as a trainer for an advanced AI model, and on the side, perhaps as a coping mechanism, she translates a manuscript written in Tamil during the 1990s, which she first encountered during her college years. The manuscript details a group of women students at a remote medical college who slowly descend into a cult of "radical compassion" while treating war refugees, inflicting as much suffering on themselves as possible in order to truly understand their patients. After the students receive televisions from the government, their philosophy becomes tested and a schism develops within the cult. Kumarasamy also gets into Ada's interactions with Sal, an artist whose parents died in a self-driving car accident; and Rosalyn, Ada's cousin and roommate who illegally performs memory experiments on a homeless man. While some of the thematic threads can feel underdeveloped or untethered, such as the AI subplot, Kumarasamy's gorgeous prose and quiet meditations on memory will enthrall readers. This ambitious effort has much to offer. Agents: Bill Clegg and Chris Clemans, Clegg Agency. (Aug.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Kumarasamy's dazzling if sometimes unwieldy debut novel (after the collection Half Gods) follows a young woman as she tries to unpack the past amid an unforgiving near future. Ada, 26, works as a trainer for an advanced AI model, and on the side, perhaps as a coping mechanism, she translates a manuscript written in Tamil during the 1990s, which she first encountered during her college years. The manuscript details a group of women students at a remote medical college who slowly descend into a cult of "radical compassion" while treating war refugees, inflicting as much suffering on themselves as possible in order to truly understand their patients. After the students receive televisions from the government, their philosophy becomes tested and a schism develops within the cult. Kumarasamy also gets into Ada's interactions with Sal, an artist whose parents died in a self-driving car accident; and Rosalyn, Ada's cousin and roommate who illegally performs memory experiments on a homeless man. While some of the thematic threads can feel underdeveloped or untethered, such as the AI subplot, Kumarasamy's gorgeous prose and quiet meditations on memory will enthrall readers. This ambitious effort has much to offer. Agents: Bill Clegg and Chris Clemans, Clegg Agency. (Aug.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Alternating between the protagonist's present life and passages of a manuscript in translation, Meet Us by the Roaring Sea is a genre-bending exploration of memory, war, technology, friendship, love, consciousness, and the challenges of caring for others in an age where we are so often lost in our own minds"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Alternating between the narrator’s present life and the passages of a translated manuscript detailing the dawn of a new existence, a young woman, struggling to survive in a violent and fractured near future, is forced to question her own moral compass and sense of goodness. 40,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"A spellbinding book." —Megha Majumdar"Akil Kumarasamy is a singular talent . . . I love this book." —Cathy Park HongWritten in vivid and pulsating prose, alternating between the young woman’s present life and passages of the translated manuscript, Akil Kumarasamy’s Meet Us by the Roaring Sea is a remarkable, genre-bending exploration of memory, technology, friendship, love, consciousness, and the costs of caring for others in an age when we are so often lost in the swamps of our own minds.In the near future, a young woman finds her mother’s body starfished on the kitchen floor in Queens and sets on a journey through language, archives, artificial intelligence, and TV for a way back into herself. She begins to translate an old manuscript about a group of female medical students—living through a drought and at the edge of the war—as they create a new way of existence to help the people around them. In the process, the translator’s life and the manuscript begin to become entangled.Along the way, the arrival of a childhood friend, a stranger, and an unusual AI project will force her to question her own moral compass and sense of goodness. How involved are we in the suffering of others? What does real compassion look like? How do you make a better world?