This one is a Literary Disco read, and I’m writing my review before I listen to the podcast. There will be some note comparisons throughout this post.
I jumped in without having read any summary of it, but here’s mine: Submergence is a narrative of a man in British intelligence and a European woman scientist both thousands of miles apart and remembering their chance encounter with each other while contemplating many mysteries of the universe and life itself.
I was submerged (see what I did there?).
While I like a story where the characters have a goal, and there are actions toward that goal, this narrative was still a good, thought-provoking read, and I could not put it down. It’s plot-less said Todd from Literary Disco, that’s it. Reflective facts are all over this book, but there is no moving plot.
Its flash backs and flash forwards between each character’s respective locations reminded me of the TV shows Once Upon a Time and Lost, and I love those. I didn’t love this book, but liked reading it.
The matter-of-fact sentences regarding their actions reminded me of The Stranger. “He did this.”
“She moved here and did this.” Also reminded me of my own dull writing (not to self: fix it!).
However, that is not how the whole book reads. The words were descriptive in their imagery, and Ledgard made such good use of sensory words. I could smell and see the gross conditions of the prison a character is trapped in; I would not eat and read this novel at the same time. While it was more of a reflection rather than an action filled story with a clear goal, I was still immersed in the world of these characters as they reflected on their lives and the lives beyond their’s.
I enjoyed James’ narrative as a prisoner of war because it gave me some insights on extremism and the environment of a war zone in third world countries.
I enjoyed that Danny was a strong and self-confident female character, but she was a snob, and she admits it, and I’ll be honest, that annoyed me. She went on about her work to James, but when he talked about something, she didn’t even pretend to care about his subject.
Rider from Literary Disco makes a good point, and I agree that the characters are difficult to relate to because they are wealthy people, so I didn’t really care what happened to them. I was reading more for the oceanographic insights.
Good intellectual book, but don’t expect a conclusive ending. According to Todd on Literary Disco, someone died, and I must have completely missed something which will tell you more than this written review can I guess. I was submerged, but apparently I did not even care enough about the characters to realize someone died.
I am fascinated by the ocean, so if you’re like me, it’s not a bad read. Some of the facts about the ocean and the environment read more like a textbook which could be bad or good depending who you are. Like I said, I am fascinated by the ocean, so it did not bother me much.
It bothered me a little that there were no chapters, and that’s just a personal preference. I like my stopping points to be on new pages. There are stopping points; just separated by squiggly lines in the middle of the page. It gets a little confusing keeping track of the narratives, especially when I spread out my reading across a few days.
I did enjoy this little comment on Americans, and I myself am guilty of being proud of some of my accomplishments and parading a “badge” of my profession (mainly free t-shirts).
“The Americans were more congratulatory… There was a pressure on American boats to purchase ugly expedition T-shirts… as if a badge was needed to prove that you had touched the ocean and partaken in your own profession” (139).
And I leave you here with that. Next read, next project, I don’t know. Until next time.