Book #68

Floating Underwater by Tracy Shawn

Part psychological fiction and part mystical fiction with a dash of magical realism, Floating Underwater follows a woman’s astonishing journey through the extraordinary and, ultimately, to her own self-actualisation and power.

Fearful that her lifelong premonitions not only predict the future but can also change its very course, Paloma Leary is devastated when her latest vision foretelling a third miscarriage comes true.

Falling into a mystifying world of increasingly bizarre phenomena, including a psychic connection with her mysterious neighbour, out-of-body experiences, and visits from her long-dead mother, Paloma grows desperate for answers. She is also desperate to start a family. But when a life-changing vision reveals a tragic secret from the past, Paloma learns to accept her gifts and embraces a far different future than she ever could have imagined. 

Before plunging into this review, I should note this novel deals with many a distressing topic, so trigger warnings for miscarriage, loss, and mental illness.

Floating Underwater follows Paloma, a woman who experiences visions which can be interpreted as premonitions. Almost immediately as we begin to read, she visualises a symbolic message which can only predict the loss of the child she’s carrying. This sends us on a journey with Paloma to understand her visions, her own life, and her ability to create comfort and change for herself and others.

It’s quite the mystical read, and feels almost ethereal, with lots of commentary on water and its strength. Shawn permeates the plot with mystery, and throws in some engaging twists, albeit ones which are quite simple to predict at an early stage.

I had a few problems with the pace; things seemed to drag along for a considerable while before picking themselves up to a comfortable speed. Repetitions, reinforcements, and retreats made things feel dull for some time before we hit the finale.

Despite this, the heartbreak and pain Shawn portrays throughout the novel is very raw and real. She’s allowing us a view into a kind of grief which we may not have experienced before, and I believe this to be incredibly important.

We can thank Shawn for encouraging us to listen to our intuition, love our families, and battle our fears.