The Seas, Samantha Hunt & Krontiras Cosmic Amber
by Kim Kent
A year ago
Lately, I’ve been experiencing a bit of reading fatigue, the sort of anxious restlessness that became part and parcel of this past year, but that I had somehow managed to avoid, at least on the reading words in books front, until now. And because, for better or worse, I need to be freshly inside a book in order to decipher if I still like it, or what sort of wine would best be paired with its pages, it was with restless needing to be anchored in place energy that I turned to my bookshelves. Samantha Hunt’s The Seas should be read in a confined space: an airplane, or bathtub, or tent, if possible. Or, if not within a small space than within a short amount of time, a small handful of days, if you can manage it. And while I don’t have to stretch far to come up with a trillion water metaphors while reading this novel, the only way to tell you what you may be in for is to repeat these instructions for open-water swimming: dive early to swim under the largest waves; adjust your breathing and hold your breath when necessary.
Once under, or inside, the novel is remarkably calm. Steady and forceful like the underside of a whirlpool. Try and get out though, and you won’t be given air. Try harder, and you’ll only get more crushed. The first word that comes to mind when drinking this month’s wine, in fact the only note I managed to write down for either book or wine while consuming them, is grippy. It’s Chardonnay from Argentina that ferments with the skins for seven months; it’s dry like the earth is dry, and will give you something to lock your lips around, in case you’re not yet ready to give up your legs.
Samantha Hunt is the author of three novels and one collection of short-stories. The Seas, her first novel, was republished in 2018 by Tin House Books. She is the recipient of a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship and teaches at Pratt University. I first read The Seas years ago, and I’m happy to have found it again; it’s the perfect spell to get you back into reading.
Krontiras vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina is made up of both old and young vines, primarily growing old vine Malbec and Tempranillo (120 plus years old) and relatively young vine Chardonnay (10 years). The vineyard is biodynamic and demeter certified, with winemaker Lillian Suarez at the helm of making “the new face” of Chardonnay in Mendoza.