ISBN-13: 9781587367335
Publisher: Wheatmark
Published: November 2007

I first came across this book after reading Wendy's wonderful review. I remember I commented on her post that I will have to add this book to my wishlist, and thereafter when the author contacted me and asked if I would like to receive a reviewer copy, I grabbed the offer. Perhaps he has read my comment. Nonetheless, I would like to thank him for sending the book to me.

Down to a Sunless Sea consists of fifteen short stories; each story allowing the readers to glimpse into the characters' world and their troubled inner thoughts under various dark and difficult situations. Each story is a different reading experience for me, for some are filled with a wry sense of humor, there are others which are considered thought provoking; and then there are some that leaves me cold. Nonetheless, Mr. Freese has portrayed each character very well and have captured their thoughts through his descriptions perfectly.

In Down to a Sunless Sea, it is a story about a boy called Adam. He has phobias and is feeling very insecured throughout his childhood life, and how it affects and changes his life after the death of his mother.

I'll Make It, I Think is somewhat a sad story about a young man dealing with his physical deformities. He gives names to some of his body parts, and I think in a way of his doing so, he is separating them from himself.

The Chatham Bear portrays the "wilderness" in today's society in a dark humor way. In Herbie, I sympathized Herbie, the boy for having an aggressive father for he is always taking charge of his life. Herbie craves for love and hoping to be accepted by his father through his skills in polishing shoes.

Alabaster is about a boy's meeting with an old woman, a survivor of the Holocaust. She confided in him how she wished she was at his age, for she had lost her youth and confidence but in her heart she is always a little girl even though her days are numbered. This is one story that touches me greatly.

In Juan Peron's Hands, the narrator gets his revenge by severing the dead Juan Peron's hands because he sees his hands the cause of the deeds he had done to other people. Little Errands is about a man suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and how he is always checking things to make sure he has done them correctly and in order. Arnold Schwartzenegger's Father Was a Nazi portrays a humorous side of how Arnie is raised by his father.

Echo and Young Man focus more on the psychological and philosophy issues respectively, and Nicholas is a boy’s perspective on today’s educational system. Billy’s Mirrored Wall touches on the differences we see between a child and an adult, and Unanswerable is about a father teaches his son to swim by throwing him into the water and leaving him there, in a way forcing him to learn but how this little ‘harmless’ intention will cause confusion to the boy as he grows up.

These short stories collections sums up the various emotions and the difficult situations the narrators faced and though some are not happy tales, Mathias B. Freese has penned each story beautifully and I find his writing style refreshing. He shares with his readers the different perspectives from a child/human's mind, which some of them have lead me pondering.

Mr. Freese has spent twenty-five years as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist caring for the deviant and damaged; he has also written a novel titled I Tetralogy.

Other Bloggers' reviews:
14 Responses
  1. Julie P. Says:

    Here' my review:

  2. Melody Says:

    Julie, thanks for the link. :)

  3. Aye, it's rather dark, but this is definitely one case where I think dark is good; the stories are very thought-provoking. Glad you got to read the book!

  4. Debi Says:

    I was asked to review this one, too, but the book never came. :(
    And I really wanted to read it! I'm sure I'll end up buying it one of these days. Thanks for the great review,'ve left me wanting to read it more now than ever.

  5. Ana S. Says:

    Like Debi, I will end up buying this one one of these days...probably sooner rather than later. How can I resist, after so many irresistible reviews? it sounds like a beautiful and moving book.

  6. Melody Says:

    Heather - I love reading dark stories. And it's even better that they're thought-provoking too.

    Debi - Hmm...perhaps the sender has overlooked this issue. I'd suggest to send him/her an email as a gentle reminder? ;)

    Nymeth - I hope you'll enjoy it too! :)

  7. Kim L Says:

    I'm glad you liked this one! That bodes well for me. I recieved a review copy, which I have not started reading. I hope to soon, though, as it sounded interesting.

  8. Melody Says:

    I'm glad you've this book as well, Kim! Can't wait to read your review...

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I too loved the book. I like Freese's writing style. I am linking your review with mine.

  10. I am glad you got so much out of this one, Melody. And I am especially glad the author offered you a copy to review! I know how rare it is for authors to be willing to send their books overseas.

    I added a link to your review on my own. Thanks for linking mine. :-)

  11. Melody Says:

    Gautami - Thanks for linking mine. :) Am glad you enjoyed it as well.

    Wendy - Yes, I am indeed grateful! Thanks for linking mine too. :)

  12. Josette Says:

    This was quite a difficult book to read but I got through it in the end. My favourite was Alabaster. You can read my review here. :D

  13. Melody Says:

    Thanks for your link, Josette. I agree this is not an easy read, but some of them are meaningful & so thought-provoking.

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