website statistics Sea Above, Sun Below - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Sea Above, Sun Below

Availability: Ready to download

Upside-down lightning, a group of uncouth skydivers, resurrections, a mother's body overtaken by a garden, aquatic telepathy, a peeling snake-priest, and more. Sea Above, Sun Below is influenced by Western myths, some Greek, some with biblical overtones, resulting in a fusion of fantastic dreams, bizarre yet beautiful nightmares, and multiple narrative threads that form a t Upside-down lightning, a group of uncouth skydivers, resurrections, a mother's body overtaken by a garden, aquatic telepathy, a peeling snake-priest, and more. Sea Above, Sun Below is influenced by Western myths, some Greek, some with biblical overtones, resulting in a fusion of fantastic dreams, bizarre yet beautiful nightmares, and multiple narrative threads that form a tapestry which depicts the fragility of characters teetering on the brink of madness. “I have read Sea Above, Sun Below with great delight, find it ‘a cacophony of jubilation,’ and I love the boldness of Salis’ characters, his wit, and the dash of his writing. There is electricity on every page, reminding me of what Dr. Sam Johnson said of Dr. Birch, ‘As soon as he takes up his pen, it turns into a tornado.'” – Alexander Theroux, author of Darconville’s Cat and Laura Warholic “George Salis has an exhilarating gift. The overall breadth of the book, the cinematic quality, and the ease with which he juggles all the voices are terrific. It’s masterfully orchestrated, vast in scope, and fearless.” – Rikki Ducornet, author of the Tetralogy of Elements “The prose is delightfully various in its effects and the humor has propulsive force. I was really impressed with Salis’ ability to move between styles and genre riffs with such elan. Sea Above, Sun Below is quite distinctive—an adventurous read.” – Alan Singer, author of The Inquisitor’s Tongue and Memory Wax “Sea Above, Sun Below is dazzling, so imaginative, original, and fierce. I took great pleasure in it.” – Lee Siegel, author of Love in a Dead Language and Typerotica “[Sea Above, Sun Below] is an admirable creation.” – Daniel Green, author of Beyond the Blurb “George Salis is very gifted! I was very impressed with many parts of Sea Above, Sun Below and was pulled right in.” – Wendy Walker, author of The Secret Service


Compare

Upside-down lightning, a group of uncouth skydivers, resurrections, a mother's body overtaken by a garden, aquatic telepathy, a peeling snake-priest, and more. Sea Above, Sun Below is influenced by Western myths, some Greek, some with biblical overtones, resulting in a fusion of fantastic dreams, bizarre yet beautiful nightmares, and multiple narrative threads that form a t Upside-down lightning, a group of uncouth skydivers, resurrections, a mother's body overtaken by a garden, aquatic telepathy, a peeling snake-priest, and more. Sea Above, Sun Below is influenced by Western myths, some Greek, some with biblical overtones, resulting in a fusion of fantastic dreams, bizarre yet beautiful nightmares, and multiple narrative threads that form a tapestry which depicts the fragility of characters teetering on the brink of madness. “I have read Sea Above, Sun Below with great delight, find it ‘a cacophony of jubilation,’ and I love the boldness of Salis’ characters, his wit, and the dash of his writing. There is electricity on every page, reminding me of what Dr. Sam Johnson said of Dr. Birch, ‘As soon as he takes up his pen, it turns into a tornado.'” – Alexander Theroux, author of Darconville’s Cat and Laura Warholic “George Salis has an exhilarating gift. The overall breadth of the book, the cinematic quality, and the ease with which he juggles all the voices are terrific. It’s masterfully orchestrated, vast in scope, and fearless.” – Rikki Ducornet, author of the Tetralogy of Elements “The prose is delightfully various in its effects and the humor has propulsive force. I was really impressed with Salis’ ability to move between styles and genre riffs with such elan. Sea Above, Sun Below is quite distinctive—an adventurous read.” – Alan Singer, author of The Inquisitor’s Tongue and Memory Wax “Sea Above, Sun Below is dazzling, so imaginative, original, and fierce. I took great pleasure in it.” – Lee Siegel, author of Love in a Dead Language and Typerotica “[Sea Above, Sun Below] is an admirable creation.” – Daniel Green, author of Beyond the Blurb “George Salis is very gifted! I was very impressed with many parts of Sea Above, Sun Below and was pulled right in.” – Wendy Walker, author of The Secret Service

30 review for Sea Above, Sun Below

  1. 5 out of 5

    Janie C.

    An utterly transcendent experience. The physical sails into a fractal fall and splinters into into the grace that surrounds one's oneiric reality. Religious systems envelope souls turned inside out while mythological prisms whisper light into those who feed on weightlessness. The body functions. Will is set free. An utterly transcendent experience. The physical sails into a fractal fall and splinters into into the grace that surrounds one's oneiric reality. Religious systems envelope souls turned inside out while mythological prisms whisper light into those who feed on weightlessness. The body functions. Will is set free.

  2. 5 out of 5

    L.S. Popovich

    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 l 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris Via

    Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxUzb... I also have an introduction in the beautiful corona/samizdat edition of the book: Sea Above, Sun Below Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxUzb... I also have an introduction in the beautiful corona/samizdat edition of the book: Sea Above, Sun Below

  4. 4 out of 5

    S̶e̶a̶n̶

    Borrowing generously from both Biblical stories and Greek mythology, George Salis meticulously entwines these ancient narratives with his own contemporary character-driven plotlines, leaping forward and back in time, free of chronological constraints to explore broad themes of love, death, aging, religious beliefs and their attendant transformative effects, and familial drama (often resulting from said religious beliefs). The resulting episodic narrative moves at a rapid pace, generating its own Borrowing generously from both Biblical stories and Greek mythology, George Salis meticulously entwines these ancient narratives with his own contemporary character-driven plotlines, leaping forward and back in time, free of chronological constraints to explore broad themes of love, death, aging, religious beliefs and their attendant transformative effects, and familial drama (often resulting from said religious beliefs). The resulting episodic narrative moves at a rapid pace, generating its own form of frictional energy as the stories of the main characters’ lives and those of their various family members intersect and slide past each other on the page. The characters here are well-drawn, multifaceted figures interacting within vivid settings inside and outside of the oneiric realm. Salis’s prose is confident, linguistically pleasing, highly allusive, and tinged with enough fabulist flourishes to project a sense of altered reality. At its core this is a very human novel, provocative both in the emotional depths it plumbs and the lingering questions it breathes out in the wake of this unearthing. For a debut novel, Salis sets the bar high and yet there is every indication that his innate storytelling talent will propel his next novel to an even higher level. [Note: I highly recommend the corona/samizdat pocketbook edition of this novel. Though I confess to a general predilection for small-format books, this one really does stand out, with its compelling cover illustration, striking color palette, and retro science fiction title font. It also fits very nicely in hand while reading.]

  5. 5 out of 5

    Derrick Simerly

    When picking up an author’s debut novel the reader can usually expect to see glimpses of great writing amongst pages of missteps that one can usually chalk up to a young unexperienced writer. There are some cases where the great writing shines through and dwarfs the missteps. I would include novels like The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, Ways of Dying by Zakes Mda, and The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace in this category of magnificent debuts, but they stil When picking up an author’s debut novel the reader can usually expect to see glimpses of great writing amongst pages of missteps that one can usually chalk up to a young unexperienced writer. There are some cases where the great writing shines through and dwarfs the missteps. I would include novels like The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, Ways of Dying by Zakes Mda, and The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace in this category of magnificent debuts, but they still feel and read like debuts. Beyond those kinds of debuts there is the rare kind of debut that does not feel like a debut. These works are original, beautiful, and very tightly crafted with a minuet of missteps, if any. Novels like The Recognitions by William Gaddis and V. by Thomas Pynchon would be included in this group. These novels turn what is supposed to be the trajectory of a novelist in to an “upside-down world” where a novelist starts at an unbelievable height of craft instead of at the summit of a mountain of potential. George Salis’ debut novel Sea Above, Sun Below is in the latter category of novels. The beautiful opening chapter sets the tone to a novel that gets better and better the further I got into it. The 1st and 2nd chapter had me impressed, but by the 3rd and 4th I was enthralled by Salis’ prose and hooked on this novel. George mixes encyclopedic vocabulary and surreal images to mark his unique and hypnotic prose. He has a knack for using just the right word in the right place in order to construct amazingly crafted sentences. The plot is fragmented, the character perspectives jump around, and writing gets very abstract at times, but I never found myself lost as to what was going on. Instead these narrative techniques heighten the story into a kaleidoscopic web of interconnected vignettes that traps you in and digs at your brain from multiple angles of thought. The story is laced with symbolism and allegory based in Greek and Roman mythology along with Judeo-Christianity. George did a lot of research on these topics and/or he just happens to have an immense knowledge of these topics that he can just pull out of his brain and splatter onto the page. George masterfully jumps between blatant references and more subdued references. To these source materials. I went into this book with high expectations and some apprehension. I thought that surely some of the raving reviews were hyperbolic, but those raving reviews--and this one--are not hyperbolic. This is a magnificent read, and I will be eagerly awaiting the follow-up novel, Morphological Echoes. Sidenote: the pocketbook edition from Corona/Samizdat fits very well in the hands and makes for a comfortable read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Katzman

    While his characters struggle in their own ways to find transcendence in the transient passage of their earthly lives, Salis crafts transcendence in the very language of his poetic novel. Disclaimer: I was invited to read this book by the publisher to provide a promotional quote. I stand by my review as honest. I wouldn't provide a blurb if I didn't like the book. While his characters struggle in their own ways to find transcendence in the transient passage of their earthly lives, Salis crafts transcendence in the very language of his poetic novel. Disclaimer: I was invited to read this book by the publisher to provide a promotional quote. I stand by my review as honest. I wouldn't provide a blurb if I didn't like the book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Robinson

    If you crank the volume way up at the end of Neutral Milk Hotel’s epic “Oh Comely” (from their remarkable album In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, released in 1998), you can clearly hear a man’s voice exclaiming “HOLY SHIT!” I’ve always assumed this exclamation was a spontaneous, visceral reaction not only to the high quality of the song he’s just heard, but also more specifically a reaction to having witnessed such a stunning performance firsthand where he maybe wasn’t necessarily expecting one. He If you crank the volume way up at the end of Neutral Milk Hotel’s epic “Oh Comely” (from their remarkable album In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, released in 1998), you can clearly hear a man’s voice exclaiming “HOLY SHIT!” I’ve always assumed this exclamation was a spontaneous, visceral reaction not only to the high quality of the song he’s just heard, but also more specifically a reaction to having witnessed such a stunning performance firsthand where he maybe wasn’t necessarily expecting one. He probably figured he’d just be hearing another of Jeff’s many wonderful songs, but instead came face to face with not just another good song, but an transcendent artistic achievement. I had a “HOLY SHIT!” moment just like that upon reaching the end of the final sentence of George Salis’ Sea Above, Sun Below. I mean that. I closed the book, set it down and exclaimed “HOLY SHIT.” Simply put, this book astonished me. It resonated with me on so many levels I couldn’t even begin to count them. I laughed (a lot), I cried (several times), I scratched my head in wonderment at its more enigmatic moments (of which there are many), and I was consistently overwhelmed by the beauty of the prose itself. In a year chock full of incredible reading experiences, this one still stands out. The fact that it’s Salis’ first novel is astounding. I can’t wait to read whatever comes next from him. Sea Above, Sun Below is a modern masterpiece and it gets my highest possible recommendation. Don’t sleep on this one.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Paul Dembina

    I was slightly apprehensive about reading this book because George is a GR friend as is Rick (the publisher) and if wasn't any good that would put me in a tricky moral dilemma Thankfully that's not a problem as the book is actually rather good. I'm no good at writing detailed critiques, I generally resort, as a form of shorthand, to comparisons with other books. In this case one comparison might be with Robert Coover's depiction of religious mania The Origin of the Bruinists. However, that would o I was slightly apprehensive about reading this book because George is a GR friend as is Rick (the publisher) and if wasn't any good that would put me in a tricky moral dilemma Thankfully that's not a problem as the book is actually rather good. I'm no good at writing detailed critiques, I generally resort, as a form of shorthand, to comparisons with other books. In this case one comparison might be with Robert Coover's depiction of religious mania The Origin of the Bruinists. However, that would only be part of what's going on here. Sallis has included elements of magic realism in his theme of fallen angels. Apparently (according to the author blurb) he wrote this in his early 20s and is now working on a "maximilist novel". I look forward to reading that when it's published.

  9. 4 out of 5

    W.D. Clarke

    Don't let this book's relative brevity fool you—author Salis has crafted an incredibly dense (in the very best sense of that word) set of interlocking phantasmagorical narratives here, and I found that it was best savoured as a book of polyphonic, thematically-linked prose poetry, for its many apt turns of phrase and deftly illustrated connected vignettes deserve careful consideration. Other reviewers have justly commented upon the book's innumerable mythological allusions and its calling-to-min Don't let this book's relative brevity fool you—author Salis has crafted an incredibly dense (in the very best sense of that word) set of interlocking phantasmagorical narratives here, and I found that it was best savoured as a book of polyphonic, thematically-linked prose poetry, for its many apt turns of phrase and deftly illustrated connected vignettes deserve careful consideration. Other reviewers have justly commented upon the book's innumerable mythological allusions and its calling-to-mind of Borges or of Ovid (to take but a few examples), but prospective readers should also know that Salis can also do psychological realism, as there were a number of superbly-written chapters (particularly those focused upon the experiences of a young lad named—yikes—Isaac) in this mode that I number among my highlights of the past year—and I am not someone who normally digs straight-ahead realism in a contemporary novel, so there. Yes, Mr. Salis has got the chops, and he evidently also has the muses on his side, cos I doubt you'll read as inventive, as playful, as complex and promising a debut novel as this anywhere else anytime soon. I sincerely look forward to see what he pulls out of the ether next.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Adams

    Finished last night. All I can say is that I’m so glad that I was made aware of this book. Truly beautiful, personal and rewarding. And that this is his first book is even more impressive. I’m happy to have an author to follow. Yeah, we’ve read the classics and the masters but how many of them do we see and read from the start of their career. This is one. Read this book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristian

    George Salis' debut novel Sea Above, Sun Below is above all a profoundly satisfying encounter, and any experienced reader will inevitably marvel at its mythological and symbolic span. Additionally, because of what the reader must indulge in to apprehend its metaphysical master plan, it is one of those novels that take on maximum significance outside of its own pages, the way strange dreams sometimes do when pondered over by the vapid light of day: a newfound outlook on physical reality is introd George Salis' debut novel Sea Above, Sun Below is above all a profoundly satisfying encounter, and any experienced reader will inevitably marvel at its mythological and symbolic span. Additionally, because of what the reader must indulge in to apprehend its metaphysical master plan, it is one of those novels that take on maximum significance outside of its own pages, the way strange dreams sometimes do when pondered over by the vapid light of day: a newfound outlook on physical reality is introduced in the mind of the reader, one that finally gives credence to more metaphysical conceptions otherwise encountered outside of waking consciousness only. In fact, any mind exposing itself to what Salis has done here must repeatedly give in to experiences of submersion and fusion, proving itself willing to undergo numerous perplexing sensations in direct confrontation with that sneaky undertow, the subconscious. Willing, indeed, to embark on ”[s]omething that might have been equal parts dream, vision, and hallucination” (p. 85). Yep. Some way into his novel, Mr. Salis quotes William James' ”The Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study In Human Nature”: ”...normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens[*], there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness, definite types of mentality which probably somewhere have their field of application and adaptation. No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded. How to regard them is the question,—for they are so discontinuous with ordinary consciousness. Yet they may determine attitudes though they cannot furnish formulas, and open a region though they fail to give a map. At any rate, they forbid a premature closing of our accounts with reality.” [*]Which of course brings to mind our late mister William H. Gass, who in “The Tunnel” refers to consciousness as ”that most fragile and translucent of screens, that most rapid and forceful of hidden rivers,[...] a floating web, really, of the most delicate connections[...]” As it happens, reading Sea↑Sun↓ sets in motion a peculiar osmosis between such multitudes of consciousness, essentially between boundaries separating self from not-self. Likewise, that which separates myth from reality is rendered useless, and dichotomies are thus switcheroo'd, blurred and upended, only to reveal themselves one and the same or wholly beside the point: up is down, dreaming is wakefulness, the divine materializes, etc. The result is a profound sensation of gestalt-free, oceanic undifferentiation between concepts, and makes for a truly extraordinary reading experience – indeed an “inexpressible literary high”, as we are promised by Rick Harsch's blurb. And to ask more of literature, in fact, would be greed. When as readers we are made to overcome the most common-sense, deeply imprinted notions of various concepts as separate entities, the better to arrive at a mental sate in which a book makes sense, we are faced precisely with some of what literature does better than any other art form. Now, an interview by writer Rick Harsch with the author reveals how Mr. Salis was himself aided by his subconscious in the writing of the novel: "[...]the subconscious is a powerful muse, an engine that works on its own and must be oiled here and there. Or maybe it’s better to describe the subconscious as a reticent creature that must be coaxed out of the darkness. Sometimes it wants to grovel in the black mud and not come out, other times it wants to fan out its feathers and reveal nearly the entirety of its glory. I’ve learned to put my trust in this creature, to put up with it, to take care of it. It seems to be nurtured by a capricious diet of every little thing and no thing at all. And thus, inspiration can come from a poem, a chance phrase in an eavesdropped conversation, misheard or otherwise, the itch on my left buttock once satiated by my fingernails. It is unpredictable, so one learns simply to be aware of everything and when those stars align it can be something that I’m hesitant to call ‘spiritual.’ " (full interview: https://thecollidescope.com/2019/07/0...) Reading that, I was prompted to ask Mr. Salis a few questions myself. It is not uncommon for a writer or artist to claim that their subconscious is an important accomplice in their creative process, but this in turn leaves one wondering how exactly the subconscious is retrieved and made useful in their creative effort. The following discourse ensued: K.S.: Would you say that to draw on one's subconscious in a creative process is to mimic its diffuse state of reality in order to reflect in one's writing the incoherent and oceanic nature of the subconscious realm, or does one in actual fact "gain access" to it as if it were some kind of obscure and incoherent data hub that you can drink from with a straw? G.S.: Thank you for a great question, Kristian. I don't think mimicry is required for the process, but it can be a wonderful style of writing. I also don't think that there is much drinking from straws happening. More like lapping at various hadean rivers, styx, phlegethon, lethe, etc. without knowing which is which and at some point the taste can manifest as something helpful, if not epiphanic. Naturally, talking about the subconscious is often as hazy as the thing itself. But I think the role it plays in all creative endeavors is vast. It shouldn't be too surprising, though, considering we are only conscious of a small fraction of what goes on in our brains, but that is what makes it so fascinating I think. The not-knowing and then sometimes, eventually, maybe...knowing. K.S.: Indeed it's hazy and few would disagree that the role of the subconscious in a proper creative process is vast (so perhaps to try and pin it down is, alas, to give in to the torturous urge for specifics so dear to the conscious mind). In any case the "lapping", the occasional peek behind [the] curtain(s)... is a great answer. I envision it as drawing on a fine-tuned sensitivity to the vibrations and echoes that the subconscious lets slip when we're conscious. In any case the ideal process, I would say, is a conscious<->subconscious osmosis, exchange, cooperation, kind of thing. However others, when faced with the question, will say that the most effective way to employ the subconscious is to enforce a total collapse of conscious control - not unlike your automatic writers. This to me seems extreme, impossible, however romantic. But then, to only "mimic"... surely too it's rooted in a sort of lapping, a nibbling? Cuz the occasional "peek" or picking up of diffuse signals is how we get a sense of the mannerisms of the subconscious, so that we may imitate them during a creative outlet in the conscious realm. And so it's simply one way in which the subconscious may "manifest as something helpful". Thank you for your answer! G.S.: I agree, Kristian. A semi-collapse of consciousness may be possible through meditation, but if you are meditating then you don't have the ability to start a novel at the same time. Oh yes, the mimicry is not immune to that omnipresent influencer, the subconscious. I actually just finished a wonderful story written from the point of view of a single brain cell (in Shakespeare's skull). Here is something of a relevant passage: "I inhabit an enchanted loom where millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern, always meant to be 'meaningful,' though not commercial, am not in trade, am not obliged to deliver the goods. So the fault, if fault there be, lies with another part of the loom--the motoric switches no doubt--as well as with mine hosts' own sloven nature."[end] - Now, then, Sea↑Sun↓ showcases what literature at its best can do. Meanwhile, it is a novel rich in references and blessed with the engulfing virtue that is creative, playful prose ("What with his outer space backpack and the red shirt he was wearing, he stuck out like a hammered thumb.”). The composition and various styles balance the work nicely, and it's hard to overlook how certain chapters even work phenomenally in and of themselves as stand-alone pieces of writing - as some indeed have. References to Greek mythology may seem forced or out of place at times, just as certain streaks of symbolism may border on triteness. But here is a writer of rare ambition and talent, and it is necessary to grant such a one his few blemishes, for they are a righteous part of his journey towards literary stature.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rick Harsch

    My blurb on George Salis' book: "Salis' book flung me from the deep ditch of my sorts back into the space where literature is a wonder, where I probably was when I was George's age, where the alembic, that disguise, produces the illusion of writing that is effortlessly fresh and new. Nothing like Celine's JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT, SEA ABOVE, SUN BELOW yet provided me the same feeling of discovery, and I was reminded how great writing is sure of itself regardless of its discursions, and I w My blurb on George Salis' book: "Salis' book flung me from the deep ditch of my sorts back into the space where literature is a wonder, where I probably was when I was George's age, where the alembic, that disguise, produces the illusion of writing that is effortlessly fresh and new. Nothing like Celine's JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT, SEA ABOVE, SUN BELOW yet provided me the same feeling of discovery, and I was reminded how great writing is sure of itself regardless of its discursions, and I was young again, young enough to look up references, alert again, alert enough to revisit the peculiar shivering nowhere of an inexpressible literary high." And all that was strange because the book came to me twice as an irritation. First, I was asked if I wouldn't mind reading one or two submissions to River Boat Books. The answer was no, but I said yes. But then I said no. I chose not this book, but another that is going to be published, by Erik Martiny, because Martiny was an Irishman living in France rather than a USer living on US soil. I read 20 pages of Martiny's book grudgingly: it was too careful at first but then he seemed to let loose. So I told the publisher of River Boat that the writer should let loose, but I am dropping the novel. I don't want to be a fucking gatekeeper. Months passed. Then Salis' book came to me again, this time for a blurb. I am currently in the midst of an essay on blrbry. I hate the process. I hate the NEED. And I was busy. But a second no to a young writer's book was extrabeous to my ethicals. So I decided I'll zip through the fucking thing, see if I can find out why it's been chosen for publication, and the timing could not have been better. I was busy with work shit (editing Slovene laws and scientific papers), with book preparation shit (proofing and blrbry), when I should have been as H. Miller would say The Happiest Man Alive, as my best novel was in process of getting published, as a book about baseball in Italy, which was a blast to write, was in said process, I was miserable. Let's see how I can phrase this without sounding condescending or plain stupid: I have a space in me for the particular pleasure of being surprised by youth. That's much of what George Salis' novel did for me, force me to pause, shake off the quotidian atrocities, and recall what it was like for me when I read a book without regard for time, read purely, read with all senses and within the sinning aesthetic of forward cast memory: I knew in time to take the book from behind this machine to the balcony, despite the complex and uncertain pluggeries involved. You will see what I mean when you read the book, enough of what I am saying, when simply clarity of word plumbs deeper thought and transforms as if in quid pro quo to deeper thought in turn forming language beyond poetic. Surprise is probably elemental to mental survival. So when a book that is a mere coat-tugging pissant asking for attention turns out to be smarter than me and the writing often requiring that I sit back and admire, I have the best of worlds: surprise reminds me of all that has remained resistant to poison. Literature will survive.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aiden Heavilin

    Here's an author to watch! George Salis’s debut novel “Sea Above, Sun Below,” is passionate, ambitious, and messy. It is a quintessential first novel in all the fiery yet imperfectly channeled energy that phrase suggests. I was reminded of many novels while reading it, but the one which came to mind most often was David Foster Wallace’s “The Broom of the System,” another novel-in-fragments which promises a future greatness not yet achieved. I’m certainly interested in whatever Salis writes next. Here's an author to watch! George Salis’s debut novel “Sea Above, Sun Below,” is passionate, ambitious, and messy. It is a quintessential first novel in all the fiery yet imperfectly channeled energy that phrase suggests. I was reminded of many novels while reading it, but the one which came to mind most often was David Foster Wallace’s “The Broom of the System,” another novel-in-fragments which promises a future greatness not yet achieved. I’m certainly interested in whatever Salis writes next. To start with the biggest positive here: George Salis is an expert at imagery. There are sights and descriptions in this novel that resonate with a preternatural intensity. His evocations of organic body horror are absolutely chilling, and his instinct for sensory detail is already - in his first novel! - on the level of many literary masters. I am genuinely fascinated by the strange wonders and terrors of “Sea Above, Sun Below”, and there is imagery here I can’t get out of my head. I could read his descriptions of mythological absurdities forever. I was reminded of Borges and Jeff Vandermeer, but Salis’s writing has a palpable viscerality that outdoes even those masters. His grasp of the five senses and how to trigger them is his biggest strength. But I’ll be honest, even with this descriptive talent, it was hard for me to get into this book. I loved the aforementioned filigree but I found other stretches of the writing off putting at first, full of heavyhanded summary and awkward prose, stuff that could probably be ironed smooth in a few rounds of proofreading. Occasionally I’d come across sentences which belonged in a first draft, not a finished product, like this one from page 127: “Lars was a manager at McDonald’s and his girlfriend routinely left him for other men, only to retreat into his arms weeks later, and he was too hurt to accept her actions as real, convincing himself that she went on vacations up north with her family, as she was currently doing.” When the book wasn’t doing prose pyrotechnics it often plodded along at a pedestrian pace. Unfortunately, the dialogue was another barrier to entry: I didn’t find any characters whose voices I could believe. Most of the conversations seemed culled from an overwrought young adult novel, and some of the passages of “male banter” in the first 100 pages or so were entirely unconvincing. The issues with dialogue ended up bleeding into characterizations as a whole; I didn’t “buy” most of these people. I tried to look past the dialogue as much as I could - this is a first novel after all - but there are a number of melodramatic confrontations where the lack of verbal verisimilitude really weighed things down. The prose and the dialogue improve along the way, and near the end of the novel I was no longer distracted by the technical aspects of the writing. But the flaws of the first half serve to undermine some of the strengths of the second half. “Sea Above, Sun Below” has an essentially formless structure, starting with a group of skydivers and then firing off a series of vignettes exploring strange, magical realist stories in each of their lives. Instead of achieving a diverse tapestry, the novel ends up cluttered with loose ends and seemingly pointless interludes. The first part builds to a pseudo-cliffhanger, a dramatic phone call between Adam and Lars, and then this thread is almost completely abandoned. Characters like Tessa get a few 2 page chapters in the first half of the novel and then completely drop out of the narrative. So many chapters here follow a minor character through some set of weird or paranormal events and then don’t particularly cohere with anything else in the novel. A few of these chapters work on their own as short stories, others in my opinion should have been judiciously cut. The chapters with young Isaac were my least favorite from the first part. The prose here becomes extremely inconsistent, taking on a baby-talk simplicity which attempts to evoke the mind of a child, yet still occasionally breaking into complex writerly similes and descriptions, which leaves the narration feeling incoherent and muddy, unable to settle on a tone. And with the majority of characters explored in only a single chapter or two, the book feels both too short and too long. Given an extra 300 pages, Salis could expand and fully develop all these multifarious threads. With 100 pages removed he could excise some of these under-developed interludes and focus on the heart of the novel: Adam and Evelyn. I wish the latter option had been chosen, because there is a core here with Adam and Evelyn that could be the basis for a more solid novel. I was very interested in the story of Adam’s father and mother. The chapter “Flora”, which I read when it was published separately, still stands as a fascinating and haunting tale featuring some of the best of Salis’s imagery. Meanwhile “On Falling into a Vision” is the novel’s absolute peak: a beautifully written, Theroux-esque essay on falling and flight. But the story is so cluttered with so many other undeveloped characters and threads that Adam’s story gets lost and jumbled, which is a shame, because nearly all the best material here involves him, and whenever the story got back around to his character I was re-invested. The character of Evelyn is interesting in theory but not so much in execution. Her main chapter, “Ecdycis as Forgiveness” represents the book’s most sustained dramatic set piece, but also its most heavy handed and unsubtle. The character of Father Peter here is a sentient strawman stereotype from some Christopher Hitchens diatribe, at one point yelling, “You think [Mother Teresa] healed people? She gave them a cot to die in. That’s all. Suffering, she said, brought them closer to God. Suffering as Jesus had suffered. We’re not here to make things easier for ourselves.” Yeah… his character (and the overall portrayal of religion) seems like a one-sided caricature; Peter is a wife-beating snake in human disguise, complete with peeling skin and egg-swallowing slavishness. I found every passage involving him and Evelyn unbelievable, although the prose of “Ecdycis” represented a step up from part one. But by the time we reach Part Three, the novel begins to hit its stride. The aforementioned “Flora” is excellent, and some of the abstract poetic chapters here were a pleasure to read. Since there had been little setup, many of the climaxes in the final part didn’t really resonate cathartically for me, but I still appreciated the gorgeous writing Salis uses to evoke them. Indeed, by the end of the novel, the narration had reached a more confident consistency, serving to wipe away some of the preceding flaws. In the end, what to make of “Sea Above, Sun Below”? I’m not entirely sure. Despite all the flaws listed above, I didn’t dislike the novel at all. In fact, it was written with such excitement that I actually found myself refreshed even by passages I was critical of. The novel served as a reminder that writing with feeling and passion is more important than writing perfectly, that an author who believes in their work will always be interesting to read. There are plenty of glimpses of greatness here, and just as often as I ran into a passage I thought needed a bit of rewriting, I’d also run into something exceptional: ”The light of day, sliced into segments by the blinds of the windows, began to stain things with color. Beautiful, she thought, how light can reveal the true nature of an object. Perhaps that was the purpose of light, and the purpose of darkness was so you could wish it away, condemn it to a region of shadow and nothing more.” Although the biblical symbolism was not exactly subtle, the metaphor of “falling” works here in a number of angles, reminding me of Joseph McElroy’s complex diving images in “Cannonball.” By the end of the novel, “falling” means more than it did at the beginning, and Salis’s instinct for structuring narratives around central metaphors and images will, I’m sure, serve him well in his later work. I’m excited for what Salis writes next. I was surprised to learn he had not read any Alexander Theroux before writing this novel, because his talent for description and linguistic games reminded me of that masterful author, which is a truly enormous compliment. He clearly has a gift, and I’m interested in seeing how that gift is developed in future work. If the final 75 pages or so of this novel are any indication, he has great things on the way.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Seth Austin

    The thing I admire most about my favourite authors is their shared willingness to take big swings, and shoot outside the boundaries of conventionality. One of my personal greatest satisfactions in literature is the "lightbulb" moment, where the author's structural intention becomes clear, and I'm left to stare, awe-struck, at what they've been building toward this entire time. I can say, in no uncertain terms, that George Salis' debut novel "Sea Above Sun Below" has achieved this in spades. Equa The thing I admire most about my favourite authors is their shared willingness to take big swings, and shoot outside the boundaries of conventionality. One of my personal greatest satisfactions in literature is the "lightbulb" moment, where the author's structural intention becomes clear, and I'm left to stare, awe-struck, at what they've been building toward this entire time. I can say, in no uncertain terms, that George Salis' debut novel "Sea Above Sun Below" has achieved this in spades. Equal parts biblical allegory, compendium of Greek myth, and Gasper Noe fever dream, SASB presents itself boldly as a beautifully chaotic novel in verse. Salis bares himself vulnerably upon the page, and has created a deeply personal work of ambition. The creativity and complexity he has woven into a surprisingly slim book is masterful; something I would expect out of someone who's been given a long period of cognitive gestation. Look, I'm not going to sing flawless praise here. SASB does suffer slightly from being a debut work, whereby the creator seems to be pouring everything they've ever wanted to say into a single piece (possibly out of the lack of certainty that they will get the chance again?). The deployment of allegory and metaphor sometimes comes off a little heavy-handed, and the verbosity can occasionally venture into the realm of excess. But, none of this soured the experience for me in the slightest. It simply just showed the rough edges - a byproduct of his pervasive ambition - that time and refinement will sand down. I'll take these quibbles with detail in exchange for his cacophonous energy any day of the week. SASB isn't just mind-expanding, it's damn good fun. Ultimately, the biggest disappointment came on page 362, when I was left quietly alone in the wake of the novel's brilliant climax, and there was nothing left but to plummet back down to earth myself. This was a pleasure and privilege to read. Bravo George, I'm eagerly awaiting your sophomoric effort.

  15. 4 out of 5

    ReemK10 (Paper Pills)

    "Authors as adjectives: what’s in a name? Audenesque, Beckettian, Chekhovian, Dickensian, Eliotian (after T. S. Eliot, though there was some support for “Eliotic”), Freudian, Gravesian, Homeric, Ionescian, Joycean and so on, omitting X and ending with Zolaesque. Then starting all over again: Artaudian," Atwoodish, Brechtian, Burroughsesque, Chabonish, Conradian, DeLilloian, Diazian, Ellisian, Eugenidesian, Franzenian, Gassian, Gaddisian, Harschian, and also Kafkaesque, McCarthian, Murakamiesque, "Authors as adjectives: what’s in a name? Audenesque, Beckettian, Chekhovian, Dickensian, Eliotian (after T. S. Eliot, though there was some support for “Eliotic”), Freudian, Gravesian, Homeric, Ionescian, Joycean and so on, omitting X and ending with Zolaesque. Then starting all over again: Artaudian," Atwoodish, Brechtian, Burroughsesque, Chabonish, Conradian, DeLilloian, Diazian, Ellisian, Eugenidesian, Franzenian, Gassian, Gaddisian, Harschian, and also Kafkaesque, McCarthian, Murakamiesque, Orwellian, Pinteresque,Rothian... and now award-winning SALISIAN!!! -Characteristic of the writings of George Salis, especially with reference to his magical account of Sea Above, Sun Below: a" fusion of fantastic dreams, bizarre yet beautiful nightmares, and multiple narrative threads that form a tapestry which depicts the fragility of characters teetering on the brink of madness." Marked by being " A visionary wunderkind if not a poet-demon". Having the quality of pondering the "intellectual,  spiritual, nihilistic, angelic". Containing a copious amount of creative and mind-blowing sentences. Characterized by being read as a prose-poem. Having been praised by Alexander Theroux: There is electricity on every page, reminding me of what Dr. Sam Johnson said of Dr. Birch, ‘As soon as he takes up his pen, it turns into a tornado.’” – Alexander Theroux, author of Darconville’s Cat and Laura Warholic Rife with the love of knowledge. Written by a masterful logomaniac. Able to take you on " a dizzying rollercoaster of a read". Or as the great Chris Via writes in the introduction: "There are books that are written for other writers. There are books that are written (or edited) for the masses. And there are books written for readers. George Salis' exuberantly allusive book, Sea Above, Sun Below, is a book for readers".

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jay Sandover

    This is an audacious book filled with not just allusions to myth but living, breathing myths. Absolutely flew through the final 150 pages. Wildly good for a first novel.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Simon Robs

    "Is birth always a fall? Do angels have wings? Can men fly?" These queries are levied early on in Salman Rushdie's fatwa producing novel "The Satanic Verses," but could just as well have come from the pages of first-time novelist George Salis' "Sea Above Sun Bellow" as both books share cross-themes of falling & flying (through the air with and without parachutes), birth origins , rebirth & reincarnation, metamorphosing topsy-turvy world where angels lurk and men push boundaries seen and unseen. "Is birth always a fall? Do angels have wings? Can men fly?" These queries are levied early on in Salman Rushdie's fatwa producing novel "The Satanic Verses," but could just as well have come from the pages of first-time novelist George Salis' "Sea Above Sun Bellow" as both books share cross-themes of falling & flying (through the air with and without parachutes), birth origins , rebirth & reincarnation, metamorphosing topsy-turvy world where angels lurk and men push boundaries seen and unseen. Young scribbler Salis cites Rushdie as an influencer and fancy that too because he shows promise in style and imagination, a fascination with technical specifics of say clouds, atmospherics, bio-zoological anthropomorphic experimental creations, and notable characterizations of his cast of twining storylines snaking their way to a bulls eye redemptive culmination. Of sorts. It's a fine & fun 1st. product for Mr. Salis, one he can build on now his chops are tittered with completion and the reading folks are whetted with glee having sensed there's more & better to come hither from heavens above OR below. Well done, Geo!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Larry Riley

    There are darker parts in Sea Above Sun Below that reminded me of Borges. They are outnumbered by the lighter parts (and by 'light' I mean the sun) that made me think of the science fiction of JG Ballard. Light and darkness are important to this as well as the vast vista of sky as seen in all direction through the eyes of skydivers falling to earth. It's a sensory novel that asks of its readers to open their minds to the eternal......but not just that because as in Borges or in Ballard Sea Above There are darker parts in Sea Above Sun Below that reminded me of Borges. They are outnumbered by the lighter parts (and by 'light' I mean the sun) that made me think of the science fiction of JG Ballard. Light and darkness are important to this as well as the vast vista of sky as seen in all direction through the eyes of skydivers falling to earth. It's a sensory novel that asks of its readers to open their minds to the eternal......but not just that because as in Borges or in Ballard Sea Above Sun Below also plumbs the depths of the human subconscious--the root memories of our beings--those existing in prehistory and myth that lay at the deepest recesses of the mind of anyone who has ever been human. George Salis here brings at least some of it to the surface and into the light. We see a father with an Icarian dream of sprouting wings to fly--we see two lovers deathspiraling like eagles. The intersect of all this myth and dreams into story makes this a great book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    David Vardeman

    This is a lush and quietly passionate poem of a book. At a young age, Salis has already found his own unique voice, his own remarkably lucid powers of observation. He shows us how strange and lush the material world is because it is the physical representation of the emotional and spiritual yearnings that lead us to push beyond physical boundaries and the illusion of disconnection.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Justin Zigenis

    An amalgamation of mythology, magical realism, realism, religious fanaticism, wonders of the natural world, and a whole lot of just plain fun, Sea Above Sky Below takes the reader on a ride like no other. So many literary tools in play. With under 400 pages at his disposal here, I’m excited for the prospect of George’s forthcoming Morphological Echoes.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Garrett Zecker

    Sea Above, Sun Below is George Salis’ spectacular debut novel that takes a striking existential approach to combining faith, obsession, the razor-thin line between (and permanence of) life and death, and a dreamlike narrative to present the story of a group of young skydivers and their cult-like coterie of followers as they try to decode what this experience of living is all about. What truly makes this piece such a triumph is Salis’ dedication to telling the story through a series of vignettes Sea Above, Sun Below is George Salis’ spectacular debut novel that takes a striking existential approach to combining faith, obsession, the razor-thin line between (and permanence of) life and death, and a dreamlike narrative to present the story of a group of young skydivers and their cult-like coterie of followers as they try to decode what this experience of living is all about. What truly makes this piece such a triumph is Salis’ dedication to telling the story through a series of vignettes that uses postmodern prose tricks, narrating through the kaleidoscopic embodiment of classic mythology, biblical allusion, and stream-of-consciousness dream sequences. The result is a beautiful and perplexing quilt of a book that on the micro-level can be digested in gorgeous geometric patterns that fly at the audience like a phoenix burning through the atmosphere at terminal velocity, but at the macro-level builds a patterned wonder of a tale that Salis brilliantly constructed to present the characters and vignettes together with the complexity of constructing a jigsaw puzzle out of the random, seemingly unrelated pieces of parachute found in the bottom of a bin of rejects. There is a lot going on - but by the end everything that seems so disparate fits so perfectly that the lives of our characters and their thematic relationships, not to mention the allusions throughout that Salis seems to effortlessly incorporate, create an amazing story about the baffling nature of existence itself into a melange just as bafflingly convincing.   This book is similar to much of Salis’ previously published work that is widely available online. He has a knack for presenting somewhat pedestrian lives that take on a scale that leaves existence itself – the universe and gods at times - in the balance while executing exciting prose that combines postmodern techniques with beautifully neoclassicist heft. The result is a style that is completely unique and sets him apart from his peers. The simple fact is, reading Salis is an incomparable experience. One final note, Sea Above, Sun Below was released by River Boat Books, a fascinating new imprint dedicated to taking down Amazon and the big retailers by deconstructing the industry from the inside out – and they achieve this by printing writers that are similarly rebellious in their work. I purchased my copy directly from the publisher and am excited to continue reading their releases in the future. It hearkens back to the days when, say, a record label’s releases carried a certain level of credibility in the tastes and habits of their audience. The independent spirit of the publisher along with the momentum of Salis (and his peers’) work made reading this book an incredible experience to be a part of the new vanguard of talented, bizarre, rebellious, and deconstructive writers on the horizon. Supporting this publisher meant supporting more great work like this, and I look forward to many more great experiences such as this.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Tanner

    Five stars for the busty debutante, belle of the ball! Icarus on salvia. Capsized, starry-eyed debut (lacking the outrage of the up-and-coming purple prose Messiah's future work) from George Salis, precocious pariah of the MFA wasteland, Sea Above, Sun Below is a phantasmagorical myth-orgy I once recollected on an airplane, which, remembering the topsy-turvy curiosity of Salistic narration, prompted me to pitch my neck to the side and try to look at the view out my window upside down. The memory Five stars for the busty debutante, belle of the ball! Icarus on salvia. Capsized, starry-eyed debut (lacking the outrage of the up-and-coming purple prose Messiah's future work) from George Salis, precocious pariah of the MFA wasteland, Sea Above, Sun Below is a phantasmagorical myth-orgy I once recollected on an airplane, which, remembering the topsy-turvy curiosity of Salistic narration, prompted me to pitch my neck to the side and try to look at the view out my window upside down. The memory of the book flashed before my eyes, much like one's cumulative memory of the self must when the spine suffers a hangman's fracture. Behold the book's steroidal viscera: 'From my resting place on the precipice, with my feet dangling, I looked at the swirling and sloshing of the gray water. The sun was still in the sky, but it emitted a lightless fire. I could hear the waves against the rocks, sounding like the crushing and snapping of bones. Then I saw a body floating in the water, engulfed and regurgitated by waves.' 'On the second day of October in 1517, after a generous amount of rain, farmer Matthew Wall lay stiff with rigor mortis, in a coffin (made by the one-eyed carpenter that the villagers in Hertfordshire called Cyclopes, even though he always thought of himself as Hephaestus, but, as fate would have it, he never did become a blacksmith) which the solemn pallbearers carried in a procession toward the church of St. Mary the Virgin.' 'Over the course of days, they began to hear, not atomic or molecular structures, but tissues and organs revitalizing. The constriction of an aching colon, the snarl of an empty stomach, the wheezing of dust-ridden lungs, and, beneath it all, the shy beat of a heart reborn.'

  23. 4 out of 5

    David

    An excellent first novel full of all of the wonderful strangeness mentioned in the description and many of the other reviews, so I will mention two important elements that the novel deals with really well: 1) Living in the wake of the past. Beneath the biblical, mythological, and (to a lesser but nonetheless present extant) literary allusions, the myriad of characters in this novel all wrestle with the past. Some deal with their own choices and actions, but most of the past that they must reckon An excellent first novel full of all of the wonderful strangeness mentioned in the description and many of the other reviews, so I will mention two important elements that the novel deals with really well: 1) Living in the wake of the past. Beneath the biblical, mythological, and (to a lesser but nonetheless present extant) literary allusions, the myriad of characters in this novel all wrestle with the past. Some deal with their own choices and actions, but most of the past that they must reckon with comes from the chaotic and unpredictable world outside of their control. For a great many of the characters it is a parental inheritance, often broken, dysfunctional, and incomplete. 2) "People need control, something to hold on to," says Adam (the novel's central figure). We can never escape the past, and the present is an "upside-down" world, so we search for control: in myth, in the broken pieces of the past, in love, in story-telling, in the life-affirming contradiction of falling through the sky, in finding a new family full of just-as-broken people, or in the visions of a local newspaper reporter who may or may not be a messiah. “Mystery is necessity," Adam's father claims. In mystery we are allowed to roam through meaning-giving, searching for something to hold on to. This novel, uniquely structured and told, does a good job at mixing the surreal with the existential. I look forward to seeing what George Salis writes next.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Cockrell

    Sea Above Sun Below by @george.salis has stolen my heart. Never has a novel touched me on such a personal level. Salis has constructed a bridge between Reality and Dream and one can't help but wonder if said bridge is a multi-dimensional hallucination or the back of some velvet level ghost. An euphoric alluvion A majestic haunting A vehement embrace of the soul It all comes together in the fall to evoke revelation and I will always be in that fall with my heart skipping a beat. I love this book The p Sea Above Sun Below by @george.salis has stolen my heart. Never has a novel touched me on such a personal level. Salis has constructed a bridge between Reality and Dream and one can't help but wonder if said bridge is a multi-dimensional hallucination or the back of some velvet level ghost. An euphoric alluvion A majestic haunting A vehement embrace of the soul It all comes together in the fall to evoke revelation and I will always be in that fall with my heart skipping a beat. I love this book The prose is pristine Salis is the architect and engineer of wonder and I have no doubt that Salis will become legendary. In my top 5 greatest novels of all time and one of a very select few that has changed my literary life. Because it has managed to permeate into my very being. The epoch of this journey will forever be with me Thank you George for writing this book for me. 🙏

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kaleigh Dandeneau

    In a world two steps ahead, just a little to the left, and named as our own, exists the man, the angel, and the fall. George Salis' novel 'Sea Above, Sun Below' engulfs you into the thoughts, fears, and lives of the complex individuals he has created. For every shaking hand, every nauseous stomach, every crying child, the body responds as the mind. Not a moment passes in which reader is not given new life in the personalities before them. For this, I am intensely thankful. To watch these lives fr In a world two steps ahead, just a little to the left, and named as our own, exists the man, the angel, and the fall. George Salis' novel 'Sea Above, Sun Below' engulfs you into the thoughts, fears, and lives of the complex individuals he has created. For every shaking hand, every nauseous stomach, every crying child, the body responds as the mind. Not a moment passes in which reader is not given new life in the personalities before them. For this, I am intensely thankful. To watch these lives from too great a distance would leave a hole in the stomach- however, if they had been by any other name, to feel so closely would be sickening. Winding through fallen skydivers and lost legends, every page brings an intense captivation that leaves you craving the next. Salis weaves myth and fantasy through science and rational thought so intensely, you are left believing that they should have never been ripped apart in the first place. There truly are no words for the experience to be had through these pages, and I urge everyone to take the leap themselves. I have never been more tempted and never more afraid to fall than after reading Salis' creation. And I have never been so grateful, either.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sofie Micklisch

    This book was definitely worth the read! I actually received this book as a Birthday gift. I really enjoyed following the storyline, and it was very well written and poetic throughout the story. There are several references to other works, such as Oedipus Rex, in the book as well as other references some might find familiar. I did like to take my time reading and re-reading certain parts. Most of the story is set in Florida, and and the descriptions are quite accurate. It is a book everyone shou This book was definitely worth the read! I actually received this book as a Birthday gift. I really enjoyed following the storyline, and it was very well written and poetic throughout the story. There are several references to other works, such as Oedipus Rex, in the book as well as other references some might find familiar. I did like to take my time reading and re-reading certain parts. Most of the story is set in Florida, and and the descriptions are quite accurate. It is a book everyone should pick up sometime and read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bhaskar Thakuria

    “We Live in an Upside-down World” Somewhere more than three-fourth into this wonderfully complex work of fiction the narrative continues thus: This revelation illuminated the lives of those lightning-afflicted, those followers of a hesitant messiah. How sensible the world became when south was north and north south, when the one thousand and one chosen realized the awful and awesome truth that the sky was replacing the earth. Lightning was the first indicator, originating from bottom-up and boring “We Live in an Upside-down World” Somewhere more than three-fourth into this wonderfully complex work of fiction the narrative continues thus: This revelation illuminated the lives of those lightning-afflicted, those followers of a hesitant messiah. How sensible the world became when south was north and north south, when the one thousand and one chosen realized the awful and awesome truth that the sky was replacing the earth. Lightning was the first indicator, originating from bottom-up and boring through the heels of men and women. Next were tears, falling upward into the concavity near their upper lids, across the forehead, then filtering through the strands of their silvery hair and rising up to the ceiling, absorbed through miniscule cracks, until the clouds of the sky were composed almost entirely of tears. These tears, a mixture of sadness and joy, pain and anger, the caprice of human emotions, caused the clouds to weigh more than the sky could bear, and in consequence many of them descended to the ground and hardened. These beacons of crystalized emotions enticed the lightning-afflicted, causing many to chip away at them and make homes with intricate insides. Glacier tables atop snowy floors below crystalline ceilings, the mist rising from frozen meals, eaten as they sat upon diamond chairs, until they eventually retired to frost-ridden beds, kissing each other goodnight with marble-blue lips. Not all of the chosen ones so easily conformed to this lifestyle, this celestial repositioning. The others, nostalgic if not contrarian, stayed in their homes of wood and wires, hopelessly attempting to recall a time when the world was upright. In this, his first work of fiction, George Salis relishes in his brilliance in creating a world full of magical realism and Biblical myths. At the point that this narrative boils down to the above scene the narrative had been already interspersed several times by the dreamscapes of its multitudinous cast of characters- at once bizzare and beautiful- and its multiple narrative threads that create parallel universes teetering on the brink of madness and uncertainty, burgeoning one on top of the other. The above passage marks the extent that this magical inventiveness that this narrative is carried forward to, in that the conundrum afflicts all of them as a generic whole. Regardless of the tumult these changes caused, the chosen found serenity like no other as they eventually witnessed the sun set into the gradient blue and then rise, but really fall, from the horizon. Gazing upon dusk and dawn inverted was the moment when the truth—the truth that the sun and sky had traded positions with the earth and sea—turned pure grandeur. The above passage further lays testimony to the fundamental theme that the novel was inching towards. Sea Above, Sun Below. The closing scene of the novel finds Adam and Evelyn in their role as a group of skydivers reflecting on the fate of their parents prior to their final jump: His father, the failed invention. His mother, the human garden. He longed to communicate these experiences to Evelyn, but not with mere words, the medley of spoken symbols upon symbols that served to muddle the mind, as he may have done with the lightning victims, inadvertently inculcating them with an upside-down belief.........Her father, the snake priest. Her mother, the ghost in a line of ghosts. She longed for the same thing as Adam. Each syllable, spoken or not, would require a macrocosm. By this they were connected, or would be soon…. And then the jump itself as reflected in the eyes of all the other onlookers witnessed an alternate event than that seen through the eyes of the two- Adam, and Evelyn, acting as his double: The air they breathed, oceanic in temperature, seemed theirs and theirs alone. They were positioned headfirst, so that if they looked up, they saw the earth, the furrowed sea some miles farther away. They looked down, between the quivering material surrounding four legs, to spy the sky-stripped sun, barbed with solid light. Oneiric.........Yet, just as a bee can perceive the ultraviolet colors of a patterned flower that would be invisible to the average human eye, all others witnessed an event alternate to what was seen by the incandescent orbs of the chosen.......The nylon parachute, pulled by Evelyn within the polychromatic flock of skydivers, was ripped by wind, turning into the tattered appendages of a bird or bat, flesh and feather. Wrapped in their wings, they twirled toward the earth. The prose of this novel brought me to my mind of the writings of Salman Rushdie (especially in The Satanic Verses) and David Mitchell and that of the novelist Andrew O'Hagan in his new novel The Illuminations. It is complex, peopled with a multitude of characters, and creates within itself several parallel universes. In the final analysis it is a heady concoction of most of the elements of modern fiction writing. This has been a wonderful debut novel by this author and I can only wish him luck in his future projects.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cherille

    Perfection. Highly imaginative. Poetically creative. One of a kind imagination. Reading his wording sounds like a mix of Shakespeare and modern language. Greek myths mixed with the modern world. Symbolism is strong. Five star story.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Luke Delin

    The expansive mythologically injected prose of Salis’ debut novel Sea Above, Sun Below is something that is as unique as the story itself: curiously centred around a skydive club getting ready for the annual International and Kindred Alliance in Respect to Official Skydiving (or IKAROS for short), but it’s way more than that, it rotates revolves and falls from the sky in madfully joyous compositions and themes that stretch the stratosphere of the various characters and generations that inhabit t The expansive mythologically injected prose of Salis’ debut novel Sea Above, Sun Below is something that is as unique as the story itself: curiously centred around a skydive club getting ready for the annual International and Kindred Alliance in Respect to Official Skydiving (or IKAROS for short), but it’s way more than that, it rotates revolves and falls from the sky in madfully joyous compositions and themes that stretch the stratosphere of the various characters and generations that inhabit the book. I found myself at times in tears at the beauty of the words and nodding like a bobblehead on crack the next minute at the absurdly magical and yet naturalistic depictions of thoughts and setting and unity and division and humanity and family and the ennui and joy those things will bring. It’s a redemptive story, bejewelled and endearing in its portrayal of love and adventure in the modern world - what with its juxtapositions to the biblical and ancient mythologies the entire way through - weaving so greatly that it had me on the edge of my chair and by the end of the damn book it was 2am and I was on the carpet, with the sea above my head and the sun below. A formidable debut. I cannot recommend it more.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Klaus Hauser

    I read this book because it is a River Boat Book, otherwise it would have passed me right by, as these days I usually read English just for exercise. This one was a lot of exercise. Hypnogogia. The book gave me some. Yet for all its difficult vocabulary, the story was actually quite simple. Maybe because we learn a lot of Greek and Latin in school in Europe. I'm giving the book five stars for the prose. Particularly impressive were short mythological chapters. The chapters that followed the char I read this book because it is a River Boat Book, otherwise it would have passed me right by, as these days I usually read English just for exercise. This one was a lot of exercise. Hypnogogia. The book gave me some. Yet for all its difficult vocabulary, the story was actually quite simple. Maybe because we learn a lot of Greek and Latin in school in Europe. I'm giving the book five stars for the prose. Particularly impressive were short mythological chapters. The chapters that followed the characters were of a different order, not poetic, but very finely rendered, very, I hate to use this word: wise. I have no quarrel with the book, and for an accurate review that does the book justice I refer you to the link provided with Chris Via's review, which is a youtube video that delves into the book in detail. I have no quarrel with the book, but finding that the author is as young as he is, that this is his first book, I get the feeling that this is a sort of test run for the book in which he allows himself to do whatever comes to his mind. This book was 310 pages and I read it in just over a day. He had a lot more to say. I'm not saying there was something wrong with the structure, or that something was missing. But I don't recall reading something and thinking 'done already? Keep going, man.' Of course, that's his business and we must take the book we are given. Yet there are obsessions left unexplored, as for example intensive anatomical metaphors. And his world turned upside down (lightning up asses, more or less)? I don't think he's going to fix that, so I am intensely interested in what he does next. The most fascinating character is an absence, the father of the character Adam—there is an absence that is strangely, and my quarrel, if I had a quarrel, would be that I, personally, wanted hundreds of pages on that old man. I guess we all feel that way about absent parent/god figures. Maybe he will be the roaming absence in the next book, which full explores the world turned upside-down.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...