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The Painted Ocean

The Painted Ocean

When I was a little girl, my dad left me and my mum, and he never came back. And you’re supposed to be gutted when that happens. But secretly I preferred it without him, cos it meant I had my mum completely to myself, without having to share her with anyone. And I sort of inherited all the affection she used to give to my dad – like he’d left it behind for me as a gift, to say sorry for deserting me

So says eleven year old Shruti of her broken home in suburban middle England. But hopes of her mother’s affection are in vain: speaking little English, and fluent in only Hindi and Punjabi, Shruti’s mother is lost, and soon falls prey to family pressure to remarry. To find another husband means returning to India and leaving Shruti behind.

Meanwhile at school a new arrival, the indomitable Meena, dispenses with Shruti’s bullying problems and transforms her day to day life. Desperate for companionship Shruti latches on to Meena to the point of obsession, following her through high school and on to university. But when Meena invites Shruti to join her on holiday in India, she has no idea how dangerous her obsession will turn out to be…

Gabriel Packard’s THE PAINTED OCEAN has been described by Colum McCann ‘as fearless tour de force. It is a rare achievement – an emotionally rich work of literature, delivered in the form of a gripping, page-turning story. The depiction of a British Indian childhood and adolescence is utterly compelling, as is the allegorical exploration of the human condition.’
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Modern & Contemporary Fiction (post C 1945)

On Sale: 1st September 2016

Price: £8.99

ISBN-13: 9781472151131

Reviews

Gabriel Packard is a major new literary talent, and his debut novel The Painted Ocean is a fearless tour de force. It is a rare achievement - an emotionally rich work of literature, delivered in the form of a gripping, page-turning story. The depiction of a British Indian childhood and adolescence is utterly compelling, as is the allegorical exploration of the human condition.
Colum McCann
Gabriel Packard's debut is unlike any other. Told by the ill-fated but indomitable Shruti, whose lively, contemporary voice masks great pain, the novel ranges from her bitter childhood in southern England to her extraordinary imprisonment on a desert island in the Indian Ocean. Shruti's experience hovers somewhere between the dark world we know, and an imaginary darker still. The Painted Ocean is an unsettling and unforgettable book.
Claire Messud
Dreamlike in its intensity, epic in its scope, The Painted Ocean is a powerful fiction debut. Gabriel Packard has a style that is propulsive, unforgettable and utterly unique.
SAÏD SAYRAFIEZADEH
Gabriel Packard has written the sort of book publishers, readers, the whole world is hungry for: a thrilling and literate debut, a smart page-turner that takes your emotions and wraps them around its brutal, quick fist. I sat to read the first page of this novel and blew the rest of my weekend finishing the whole blessed thing.
Darin Strauss
The Painted Ocean has the heart and intelligence and verbal brilliance of Charles Dickens, and a young narrator who is as lively, smart, and full of feeling as, say, Huck Finn. Gabriel Packard's debut novel, which recounts the painful coming of age of a British-born first-generation-immigrant girl from India, during the '90s, has the potential to be one of those books that everybody wants to read - the humanity of the main character under extreme duress, and the marvelous idiom in which she speaks, are both hauntingly compelling. As with Dickens and Twain, the voice that Packard has created is complex, morally challenging, and a true literary achievement.
Tom Sleigh
This debut novel ... grabs you by the throat and holds on tight
Sydney Morning Herald
One impressive debut. Reminiscent of Dickens in its dramatic scope and descriptive passion, with obvious (favourable) comparisons to Monica Ali's Brick Lane, The Painted Ocean is about surviving as an Indian migrant in England ... Shruti's subsequent adventures stray onto Lord of the Flies turf. The writing is rich and immediate, compelling in its intensity. The pages seem to turn themselves.
The Australian Way
This ambitious debut novel has an unforgettable narrator in Shruti
Red magazine