This debut novel from Scottish author Kirsty Logan is set in a far off dystopian future in which most of the world is submerged underwater. There are now two groups of people ‚Äì those that live on land are known as ‚Äúlandlockers‚Äù, and those who have made their home at sea, adrift on boats and ships are the ‚Äúdamplings‚Äù. There are two protagonists of the story, Callanish and North. Callanish is a Gracekeeper living on a secluded outpost at sea where it is her duty to bury those who have lost their lives on the treacherous waters. She hides a secret beneath her white gloves which she must never reveal for fear of being outcast from society. North lives and works on a travelling circus ship and keeps a bear who is her closest friend and confidant since the loss of her mother at a young age. North too has a secret. The two are drawn together when a storm rocks the circus boat and results in the tragic death of one of the performers. As a result North and Callanish share their respective secrets and a bond is formed which cannot be broken by distance, even after North sets off again with the circus ship.
This book was an absolute pleasure to read as it is beautifully written with a sense of magical realism that really draws you into the world of North and Callanish. The opposing cosmologies of the landlockers and damplings explores the themes of religion and belief. The characters of the circus performers are rich and complex with underlying story lines of their own. The storyline is varied and layered with the chapters of the book, alternating between North and Callanish as the two are fatefully intertwined and finally brought together. Their characters are so believable despite the fact that they are both from quite different circumstances with such radically opposite lives, as they have more in common than might be initially expected. Ultimately they are two independent, intelligent, and inspiring women who are both striving to find themselves in a restless world.
Girl Museum Inc.