Steve Whitaker, the Literary Correspondent of the Yorkshire Times has reviewed Andrea Michael’s book, Wine Dark Sea Blue in September 5th issue of the newspaper. The review begins “This bitterly sardonic, but ironically warm, interior examination of a fractured life in a bonded but mutually destructive family yields a compelling microcosmic picture of a dysfunctional metropolitan landscape.”
Whitaker notices that although the book is cantered around a Greek London family the message about growing up in an expatriate family is more generally applicable:
“The first-person narration gives the novel impetus – we experience the details of a katabatic descent as though just lived. That Ellie’s family are of Greek origin adds flesh to a sense of cultural dislocation which hardens, further, her cynicism as to the coloratura dynamics of family relationships. The Greek perspective is significant, here, and Michael appears to be talking from first-hand experience: kicking against the easy adoption of stereotypical roles – at least one of Ellie’s ongoing bêtes noire is an insidious, controlling paternalism – Michael finds a platform for making a wider point about the tenacity of diasporic culture, even at generational distance.”
Steve later says:
“Michael returns to the amorphous sea instinctively, and it is in the dark waters of Greek myth that one of this finely-observed novel’s defining moments is situated. The capricious figure of Persephone, who occasions a lacerating and destructive sense of loss in the mother she leaves behind as she marries Hades and becomes a goddess of the Underworld, is thereafter obliged to wander a liminal space between earth and the realm of Death, as an emollient to both husband and mother, Demeter. The chiaroscuro interplay of worlds of life and death, of relentless seasonal changes, becomes a metaphor for the ache of Ellie’s unease, for her wandering purposelessness.”
Wine Dark Sea Blue is available for the month of September for £10.00 free of postage and packaging. See here to purchase.