Death and the Seaside by Alison Moore

Death and the Seaside

Alison Moore

This spellbinding psychodrama, full of literary allusion and symbolism, draws on many influences. Don't be fooled by the deceptively simple writing style: the story within a story, the blurring of fiction and reality, and the sinister undercurrents in the relationship between the easily influenced Bonnie and Sylvia, her mysterious landlady, conspire to baffle and unsettle the reader till all the hidden clues cleverly converge.

Bonnie Falls has tried to write, but has failed to finish, at least half a dozen short stories, including her recent 'Seatown' story. Her habit of leaving her work incomplete reminds me of the Egyptians leaving a gap in their hieroglyphs of serpents, which they did, apparently, because completing the hieroglyph risked bringing the serpent to life ...
All these unfinished stories of Bonnie's are set by the sea, and one must ask: why this obsession with the sea? She does not live there, although she could. When considering this question, one ought to take into account the fact that in each of Bonnie's stories - as well as in many of the novels on her bookshelves - the sea is a metaphor for death.
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