Guest Author - Chris Willis
I mentioned in my first article that one of my favourite books is ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley. My first reaction to ‘Born of the Sea’ by Victor Kelleher which admittedly takes off where Frankenstein stopped, was the horn effect. I thought it was blatant plagiarism and if it was not for the fact that I found the premise interesting, I would’ve thrown it back on the shelf.
To Mr Kelleher, I apologise.
The story is based on Madeleine Sauvage, the creature Dr Frankenstein created to afford his monster a bride. Kelleher lubricates the Frankenstein tale into a well oiled story which had me hooked in the first few pages.
The storyline is as simple as the characters and blended well into the period which we are all so familiar with. Kelleher attached me to the main protagonist, Madeline, as much as her hands were attached to her arms. The prose is vivid and original and most of the characters are well-rounded and believable.
Told in first person, Born of the Sea took me on an emotional journey where Madeleine constantly refers to Mary Shelley as a friend and finally ends up at her death bed.
Kelleher was visionary in his illustration of her cruel and violent existence without reverting to the blood and guts of horror. The experiences he portrays are easy to connect with and I connected with Madeleine quickly. With the face of an angel and a body of reconstituted humans, Madeleine learns the cruelty called humanity.
It was interesting to read how Madeleine and the Frankenstein monster met and how their relationship flowered. It was not out of love or belonging but from mutual anguish from how they were treated by humanity. If it was not for Madeleine’s quest, I doubt their compatibility.
If I wrote more about the storyline or its characters, it will serve only to spoil what you have not read. Born of the Sea is an embracing tale, whether you have read Frankenstein or not, and geared towards a broad audience.
The relationship Kelleher creates for Madeleine and Frankenstein is interesting. I believed their meeting to be the end of the novel, but instead, it complicated her; made the novel more powerful and attempted to turn it into a love story. Not so much as Romeo and Juliet as it is Romero and Juliet. The ending was satisfying, yet, left me wanting to read more.
Born of the Sea by Victor Kelleher is a well written tale of cruelty and longing to belong. I have no hesitation in recommending the book to anybody and give it a substantial 9 out of 10!