The feeling of losing something and being unable to move on, both a literal person and a way of life, comes through with powerful clarity ... Trina also skillfully articulates the tension between building solidarity around difference and a liberal collapse or erasure of difference. While the ethical and political context behind this argument is deliciously complicated, and always requires individual effort for critical engagement, Porter’s protagonist makes it real to us through the body and relationships ... Structurally, though, The Seep is not necessarily a total success. The third and final section of the novel feels underdeveloped ... The book itself reads more as a novella or otherwise-luxurious piece of short fiction, lacking enough of the flesh that might stabilize its deeply interesting, thoughtful bones. With Trina’s personal revelation and the rescue of the Compound boy at the conclusion, the threads are all tied-off neatly but, to extend the metaphor, perhaps with a handful of dropped stitches preceding ... Despite the sense of unfinished or unrealized narrative space, which I did leave the book itching over, the emotional and thematic sketches Porter draws in her strange soft-apocalypse future also fill up the reader’s brain for later perusal. The simplicity of her work is delightfully deceptive ... Trina is a refreshing protagonist, radiating the calm steadiness of an older queer woman even through her own progressive breakdown and her disillusionment with the Seep’s changing world ... contains gorgeous ideas and images in conflict, as well as in concert, that are worth carrying out of the text to admire further: who are we, and what are our bodies, made up as they are of experiences and histories?
This surreal debut takes on themes of utopia, identity, love, and loss, while readers are pulled into a full experience through Porter's fluid prose. This unusual story will linger long past the last page.
Porter is unpacking themes of grief and the feelings that make us fully human. This is a slender novel, sharp-witted and often tender. Trina, stubborn and pragmatic, romantic and disillusioned, is a relatable navigator through the new world that Porter imagines. Her loss and sorrow, her love and memories, transcend the alien weirdness in which the story is set. Still, that alien weirdness is incredibly entertaining, even if Trina’s shifts and growth are the center of the novel ... Porter has a wonderfully light style that belies the serious subject matter she takes on here. This makes for a thoughtful and amusing book --- stranger than aliens because it is about the human condition.
Porter employs profound compassion and gentle humor to convey Trina’s fear of change and distrust of complacency. Readers will delight in the eerie disquietude and optimism of this well-calibrated what-if.