With 'The Small-Town Sea', Anees Salim has produced one of the most subtle tragedies in Indian fiction in English
The sea of the title laps at the edges of this novel, dynamic despite its sameness, essentially unknowable, yet always recognizable. It is a magnet, summoning a dying man with the same insouciance with which it beckons tourists from across the world. It is the great forbidden, out of bounds for the 13-year-old protagonist. It is the distant thunder that plugs in the gaping quiet of his narrative, the sight he is conditioned to admire from afar, the insurmountable barrier that separates him from all that he can call his own.