Alternating between the young woman’s present life and passages of the translated manuscript, Akil Kumarasamy’s Meet Us by the Roaring Sea is a genre-bending exploration of memory, technology, friendship, love, consciousness, and the costs of caring for others in an age when we are so often lost in the swamps of our own minds.
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.