DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC in exhange for an honest review.
Oftentimes its hard to review a collection of short stories, some stick out in your memory and others fade in with the rest. This is the case with Sea Lovers. The book is divided into three sections: animals, artists, and metamorphoses. Personally, I believe the book starts off strong, really strong, but fades as it goes forward.
The "animals" section is the strongest even though it is a collection of four short stories that all involve animals dying. The writing is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. There is no question that Martin is a talented writer and it shows in this section. The story that stands out in my mind has to be the first one: "Spats", a tragic story that involves a woman whose husband leaves her but leaves behind his dog, an animal she is not quite fond of. To exact revenge, she has the dog euthanized.
The second section, "artists" has some great moments but then begins to drag on. The highlight here has to be "His Blue Period", the story of an arrogant artist in a relationship with a woman who is being mistreated, Maria. The protagonist of the story is a struggling artist who is in love with the same woman but decides he has waited long enough and begins to date someone else. Suddenly, Maria dies leaving behind a multitude of questions, most importantly, who is responsible. The low point of this section, in my opinion, is "The Open Door", a story of two women dating that have disdain towards one another's occupation as an artist and dancer respectively.
The last section is where things start to go downhill. Of the four stories, "Sea Lovers" (the story that inspired the name of the book) has to be the bright spot. This is the story of a man who finds a mermaid and begin to interact with one another but notice that he cannot live in water and she cannot live on land. Nothing else really stands out in this section, in fact, I struggled to get through "The Incident at Villedeau".
Overall, if you're a big fan of the short story, pick this up as there are some real gems in here. Having read the book, and looking backwards, I am glad I read it. I like how Martin takes the reader to the end of the story but then ends it, leaving a sort of cliffhanger. It isn't to the point that drives the reader mad but it allows the reader to wonder what happens next.
Solid read but don't expect a book that'll change your literary life.
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.