Category: Literary Contemporary Fiction
Author: Sarah Moss
It’s been almost a year since I read The Tidal Zone, but if someone were to ask me which was the best opening chapter that I’ve read in recent times, in a blink of an eye I’d say this one. I remember reading the first chapter, pausing for a moment and realising that I wanted to slowly savour and yet devour this book all at once. Here’s a little snippet of how it all starts.
‘Once upon a time, a woman and her husband lay together, and the man’s seed navigated the hollows and chambers of his wife’s body until it came home. Cells began to divide and re-form, as they do, and something new was made. As weeks went by and the woman began to feel odd and sick, the new thing took shape: a comma, a tadpole, eventually the bud of a brain and a spinal column. Suddenly, in the shallow darkness of a summer night, a heart completed itself and began its iambic beat. The heart beat while the new thing grew a head and arms and legs, while it began to flutter and then to turn in the seas of the woman’s womb. For a long time the creature floated free, tumbling and kicking, learning to listen to the rumble of voices, to dance to music coming from the bright world beyond…
The heart had been working for months now and it kept going, sometimes fast and sometimes slow, but always beating the same rhythm. She breathed. The music of heart and lungs began, and continued, and no one listened anymore.’
And I’ll leave it there. This book is such an incredible exploration of what it means to be alive. It brings forth a constant conflict within itself of how inconsequential, insignificant ourlives are in the grand scale of things and yet how ridiculously self important we feel. All in all it was just such a wonderful reading experience and one that stayed with me long after I read it. So if you haven’t read this yet, maybe you should add it to your 2018 TBR!
On a side note, I still can’t get over the fact that the cover design of this book is a painting and not a photograph.