reviewed The Seep by Chana Porter

Chana Porter: The Seep (2020, Soho Press) 5 stars

A blend of searing social commentary and speculative fiction, Chana Porter’s fresh, pointed debut is …

The Seep

4 stars

The Seep is a story about grief, more than anything else. The description of how Trina deals with her grief is well written. But I give the book only 3 stars because it feels shallow. How do we have multiple characters who turn out to be so important to Trina and her journey, without us learning much about them? I finished the book in an evening, and felt that perhaps something important had gone over my head because the story just seemed to be missing something. Trina is native, and Jewish, and trans. Does any of her identity and cultural background influence how she deals with the world created by the arrival of the Seep? It feels like it should be relevant, and I can speculate, but if there were hints from the author I missed them.

Despite the shallowness, the parts that are there are very good. Porter creates a really interesting world, a utopia where our material needs are met and the horrors of capitalism are in the past. Utopias seem like they should be dull to write about but Porter proves this wrong.

After finishing the book, I learned that a friend has a different edition that also includes a short story that goes into more detail about the boy and Horizon. Perhaps that edition would have felt more complete to me.