Sea Above, Sun Below by George Salis is a rich and masterful novel. While reading it, from the beginning to end, I never doubted I would rate it five stars. It is a balanced reading experience, told from differing perspectives, chockablock with symbolism and allusion and wordplay.
The descriptions of people, the universe and abstract concepts, are always lyrical and moving. The characters, though isolated in their narrative spheres from other characters, all relate in symbolic ways, interacting like entangled particles.
This is a tale about skydiving, and the brave divers through the sky, and the diverse revelations they encounter, on land and in the arms of God, up in the air, floating like angels, hovering above the ball and chain of their earth, which to some is an Eden, and to others, an egg, flush with history, pregnant with myth.
It is also about childhood, and escape, tragedy and the infinite potential of the future, told in convincing voices, with heart and love and joy. I was enchanted by the realistic characters, the effortless flow of the evocative language, the precise word choice, effective dialogue and seamless storytelling. The novel works on muliple levels at once, guiding the reader through layers of meaning. It does not engage in hand-holding, nor is it like wandering a lanyrinth. Reading it is like falling, which is a metaphor the novel makes ample use of, falling into a magical realm. The picture widens as you proceed, and the sky behind you is full of Halley’s comets, decaying gods, and past memories discarded like ballast.
This is a truly great novel that does not rely on literary crutches. It shirks influences and finds a style all its own. If you write, you will likely be envious of his accomplishment. If you had handed me this book and said it was a lost novel by an early J. G. Ballard I would have told you Ballard didn’t write this well. I’m being serious.
There are many brilliant moments of interstitial congruency. Like the following quote:
“With the advancement of technology, he knew the future, however distant, would reveal the reality of alchemy.”
Sea Above, Sun Below is literary alchemy.
I encourage you to savour the complex fascinations to be found in this expertly crafted book. I hope the author continues to pursue his creative ideals. A magnificent novel.