Vivian is a research assistant on a research project studying the native marine life off the coast of Newfoundland. Some time ago, a mysterious glow of the sea appeared in the water over and over again. One day Vivian is caught by a fish-like creature – apparently the cause of this phenomenon. You immediately feel a connection to the presence, hitherto unknown to science, that you believe to be female. But their bosses only see the creature as a way to advance their careers.
Sealight is the first novel by author Melissa Barbeau. Originally published in English in Canada in 2018. Visually, the book impresses with its pretty cover, an adaptation of painting 49 of Ernst Haeckel’s Art Forms of Nature from 1904. The story also looks promising, though it doesn’t take a fresh approach : What species does the creature belong to, and why is Vivian almost instinctively drawn to it? How far can science go when looking for creatures that are sensitive to pain? Are humans able to identify organisms from habitats different from their own?
Lots of room for characters, little to research
Unfortunately, the novel addresses these questions very vaguely. Rather than focusing on the relationship between Vivienne and Being, the plot focuses more on the relationships between the individual characters, from whose perspective the story is told.
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