Making waves in the silent sea: An overview of ‘Seahorse’ by Janice Pariat

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“We treasure the incomplete for it lends us many lives—the one we lead and the million others we could have led. We are creatures of inconsistency. Passionately partial.” –  Seahorse: A Novel


Retelling the myth of Poseidon and his youthful male devotee Pelops, JanicePariat’s novel ‘Seahorse’ transforms a simple coming-of-age story into an epic drama of loss, love, and healing. The book narrates the story of Nehemiah, or Nem, a student of literature, who is drawn towards his art history professor, Nicholas. And then one day, Nicholas disappears, leaving Nem behind in his incoherent world. When Nem is awarded a fellowship to London, a cryptic note plunges him into a search for the art historian—a search which turns into a reckoning with his past.

The book released in the month of November, last year and since then has garnered a phenomenal response from various critics, bloggers and the media. Here are some of the great reviews on ‘Seahorse’and interviews with Janice Pariat that we’d like to share with you:

  • “I’d been struggling with the structure of ‘Seahorse’ for a year, when suddenly, sitting in a friend’s flat in Rome, the sun streaming in through the window, I started writing from scratch. As like inner workings of a clock, things just fell into place.” – Verve Magazine, November, 2014
  • “… Nem became a voice. A clear, particular, manifest. In a sense, he began telling his own story. The challenge, as always was to infuse a voice with life – believable, vibrant, humorous.” – The Pioneer, January, 2015
  • “I started out wanting to write about a ménage a trois in Delhi, but the novel developed into an exploration of queerness, and the relationship between time, memory and art,” says Janice – The Asian Age, December, 2014
  • “As a child I was happily unaware that Dickens wrote this slim novella propelled by a burning sense of injustice for the victims of the Industrial Revolution.” – Business Line, December, 2014
  • “Seahorse, then, is a fine and estimable account of an interior world suffused by a pining for what has been lost.” – India Today, December, 2014
  • “We are all phenomenological creatures, writing is my reality. In Seahorse, the protagonist asks an artist whether something in particular inspires him, and he replies ‘Yes. As well as everything else… how is it possible to separate?’” – The Platform, November, 2014
  • “The poetry of the writing and the narration of a mythical tale in a contemporary setting. It will not disappoint.” –Verve magazine

Read Janice Pariat’s complete interview here:

  • “Seahorse is undoubtedly a literary novel in every sense of the definition, yet there’s also something disarmingly innocent about it, which should give it a broader, more popular appeal.” – The New Indian Express

Read more:

  • “Pariat is a major talent. This is a book to savour at leisure, keeping the world at bay.” – Live Mint

Read more at:

  • “With Seahorse, her debut novel, Pariat extends her range to come up with a filigreed tale of disquiet and discontent, of longing and loss, based on the Greek myth of sea-god Poseidon and his young acolyte and lover, Pelops.”- India Today

Read more:

  • “…it’s about a person breaking apart, being put back together, changed, incomplete. It isn’t one of the major, well-known myths, but I felt it was most close to life. – The Pioneer

Know more here:

  • “All labels bother me – women writer, Indian writer and more. How tragically tedious (and lazy) to think in those terms and place the whole world and everything in it into neat little boxes! Labels often reaffirm the inequalities they set out to eradicate.” – Verve magazine

Read it here:

  • “I believe that if we are to show humanity in our dealings, it is a good point to start with human beings.Categories, more often than not, disclose attempts to demarcate and control, they de-humanise.”– Bangalore Mirror

Know more here:


You could buy ‘Seahorse’ by Janice Pariat, here:


The Penguin India Blog

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