Book Review: Letters from a Shipwreck in the Sea of Suns and Moons by Raymond St. Elmo

Maybe it is the poetical words or the dream-like narration, or the mystery embedded into the book which drew me in. All of which is the strong suit of St. Elmo’s writing style. Letters from a Shipwreck in the Sea of Suns and Moons don’t fall short of it. It is a beautifully written story about a failed poet who becomes a sailor shunned by his love’s, the mysterious K’s, father and family. Clarence St. Elmo’s, the poet’s, story, future, and discovery of himself is revealed through an interview with an enigmatic entity, who lies, but so does Clarence. The poet rebels against the interviewer, showing what is necessary for him to remember and occasionally survive. We get to see Clarence’s thoughts and past through his letters to K, the true motivation why he began the wretched journey. He writes of his sea voyage to the island of Theodosia. Behind the poetry is a hidden world of ancient gods, strange shipmates, cat, and books. But that is as far as I can go without taking away the mystery from you.

Like with most St. Elmo’s books, you are trapped inside this surreal world, hungering to understand what is going on and where the story will lead you. This book is not an exception. You let the writer toy with you, in desperate need of clues, the great secret, what he knows more than us, and what kind of enlightenment we can find at the end and between the covers. In that aspect, he doesn’t disappoint. There are questions about reality, perception, death and life, and who you are, and about the ultimate one, yet, occasionally, I needed the book to move on quicker and give me clarity to let me be tied to the narration and the persons telling it. Maybe it is me. Perhaps I need to be more in control. I want to add more here about how it all concluded for me, but again, I’m at the dead end with this book and not wanting to reveal anything to hinder your reading experience.

This book is magical realism at its best. It plays with perception and reality, tying it to something unreal you wish existed in this world. You need to read it to understand and feel the story. And you feel it through St. Elmo’s words. He doesn’t let you escape, or he didn’t let me. Beautiful book, written so well that it leaves me in awe.

Thank you for reading, and have a mysterious day ❤

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