Meet Us by the Roaring Sea is under 300 pages, and there is certainly a lot going on, but it all feels beautifully balanced — chapters threaded together nimbly, the translated manuscript and the protagonist’s life echoing each other ... The translation-within-a-novel demonstrates how, across vastly different times, places and cultures, human beings ultimately have similar concerns ... Personally, I love when novels play with form and storytelling modes, but some find these devices gimmicky or too obvious. Meet Us by the Roaring Sea avoids this in part because the connection between the sections is never spelled out beyond the fact that the unnamed narrator is translating a manuscript ... The overarching theme: that existential loneliness exists alongside the deeply porous experience of being a human in a social world. It’s the tension of that seeming contradiction, as well as the sure hand of the book’s guiding intelligence, that makes Meet Us by the Roaring Sea such a pleasure to read.
Kumarasamy’s quirky language and wit are dazzling ... This humor is the way I dig it — deep — extending an opportunity for the reader to take a beat before absorbing the novel’s more sobering themes ... Both narratives are edged with passion, with a desire for things — mothers, saviors — just beyond reach.
Akil Kumarasamy's first book, 'Half Gods,' was a linked story collection revolving around two Tamil brothers...But for all that book's prodigious skill and deft structure, readers of 'Half Gods' will not be prepared for the uncanny brilliance of her first novel, 'Meet Us by the Roaring Sea'...'Meet Us by the Roaring Sea' is a brazenly complex, labyrinthinely structured, deeply philosophical, thematically ambitious novel, and although it may not be the breeziest read, it is also a masterpiece that more than confirms the promise of 'Half Gods'...Kumarasamy is one of more exciting young fiction writers at work right now.
Kumarasamy 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...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.
While the novel features a broad cast of characters, few prove memorable...There is much to Meet Us by the Roaring Sea that does not meet the eye, and this is a book that commands a greater focus and closer attention than I anticipated as a reader...And while individual passages shimmer and terrify, the book as a whole leaves dangling threads that go beyond the unanswered questions of thought-provoking narrative...We never truly comprehend our protagonist, just as our protagonist rarely seems to comprehend the world around her.
Kumarasamy’s dazzling if sometimes unwieldy debut novel follows a young woman as she tries to unpack the past amid an unforgiving near future...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.