Beside the Sea by Véronique Olmi (2001; Tin House Books, 2012, 119pp.)
A somewhat tediously detailed story that follows an emotionally fragile mother and her two young sons on a beach trip. It’s not your ordinary trip, however. A dark undercurrent haunts the pages from the beginning to end, leading the reader to suspect that all is not well with this little family. Narrated by the mother, she confides to us that the world is too dangerous for her sons, and she, as their mother, feels it best to remove them from it.
I’m not even sure how much information about the plot I can reveal without completely giving away the ending. Although a little slow at first, the events leading up to the tale’s conclusion are riveting. I can’t really say how readers will react to the story. There’s not really a take-home message, and I don’t feel like I gained anything or became a better person for having read it. It’s interesting, but not exactly remarkable.
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