I just finished reading a fantastic book by a new writer on the rise, Hawa L Crickmore’s Across the Ocean. This book was unlike most books that I read in that it was serious. It took itself serious. The content was serious. Even the writing style was serious. It was quite different than most fiction that I read which is always a bit tongue and cheek in its delivery. I have often said that horror writers are all comedians, but we are the only ones that get the joke. Not that I only read horror of course, but even most serious literature that I read, and Across the Ocean is certainly serious literature, is still playful in the delivery. Part of me wants to contribute the seriousness of the book to a failure or inexperience on the part of Crickmore, but I may be wrong. Perhaps the subject matter just doesn’t lend itself to a playful attitude. Regardless, the stories seriousness made it a quicker read and one that worked on multiple levels.
The story of the book is a very interesting one. A white British cage fighter comes down with a rare illness that requires a bone marrow transplant from a family member, the only problem is that he was an only child and is orphaned. Dumb luck was in his favor when a new friend, an African American, tested to be a match for donation. This wonderful, lifesaving rarity does not come without questions.
Research is then done to try to find if the pair were related. The book then moves through time to different countries and different people to illustrate how the relationships of drastically different people can be traced to common ancestors. It really is a small world after all.
One place Hawa really excelled was the chapters on slavery. They are heart-wrenching and beautiful.
The place that I thought this book could have been improved was in possibly hiding the conclusion from the reader a bit more, as I felt the outcome was certain right from the beginning.
All in all, a powerful book that I would recommend.