First Chapter First Paragraph: The Sea Change

Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, to share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book she is reading or thinking about reading soon.

The Sea Change

This week I’m featuring a book that was published in May this year. It is The Sea Change, a debut novel by Joanna Rossiter.

It begins with a Prologue, set in Kanyakumari India, in 1971 where Alice is thousands of miles away from home the day after her wedding:

It is there before we know about it. Being Born. A Persian rug, unrolling. Our wave, heavy like death.

‘Up! Up!’ a voice shouts from outside the guesthouse. It doesn’t belong to James. ‘It’s coming!’

Where is he?

Stone. Bone. think hard and then harder. That’s how it hits the shore. It takes the beach in one breathtaking gulp, palm trees dominoing down and fishing boats scattering as easily as the seeds of a dandelion. Streets fuse into the flesh of the water, like new limbs, new skin, until it morphs into a moving city. Trucks and tuk-tuks roll over and over like shorts in a washer: houses are picked up whole. Then, with sea-soaked hands, the water sets itself alight. flames – blinding and orange – buoy themselves forward on black, black, mirrorless liquid.

I’ve quoted more than the first paragraph because the words drew my eyes on down the page with such dramatic images of the destructive power of the sea and our powerlessness as it sweeps across the landscape. I can visualise it so easily. And where is James?

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