Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Pull of the Ocean by Jean-Claude Mourlevat

The Doutreleau family is comprised of mother, father, and seven sons: three sets of twins and Yann. Yann is an unusual child, to say the least. He's ten years old and only two feet tall, but without any deformities of a dwarf. He's mute, but easily communicates with people through facial expressions and gestures of the hand. The mother and father are crude, cruel people who terrify their children.

One night Yann awakes his brothers with a warning that they must leave, or else their parents might do them harm. So begins their journey west as they travel towards the only refuge they know of: the ocean.

The Pull of the Ocean is told from many different perspectives, from the seven boys to the many people they meet along their journey, making it rather difficult to feel connected to any one of the characters. Written in a simplistic style, it is a story of survival and hope. The entire book seemed undescribably strange, though. It left me wondering what the point of the tale was exactly. Perhaps something was lost in its translation to English since it felt so incomplete.

Brief swearing by the mother in one chapter.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Moscow, ID USA

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