...one of Devi and Zuckerman’s greatest triumphs in this book is that each character has their own distinct rhythms, with power and poetry drawn from the cadences of their speech ... narration is extraordinary, shifting between describing solid, often sordid details with vivid precision, and soaring into more abstract passages that echo the ebb and flow of the sea that 'surges, escapes, shatters' on the island’s shore ... Together these voices provide a stunning immersion in Troumaron, an impoverished area of Port Louis, and in the surges of teenage lust ... [a] stunning short novel.
...The novel’s voices are distinct, but they all flash with the hot mirages of adolescence—all four kids see with the hard certainty of desire things that are and aren’t there ... Devi’s novel is of a piece with an important strand in postcolonial feminist writing that locates the central tragedy of survival in the necessity of repeated leave-takings, which are always acts of betrayal—betrayal of home, of history, of nation, of those who stayed ... The challenges of getting Devi’s tropical-guttural-teenage mood right are considerable, but Zuckerman’s translation is confident and accomplished, capturing the marine clarity of the prose without losing any of its poetic heat.
Zuckerman's translation is artful ... The novel moves at a quick clip, and the poetic style can require some rereading to connect the nuances in the narrators' perspectives. While descriptive, the sparse language adds to the sense of hopelessness and the scarcity in which the characters live.