THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA | SYLVIA PARKEntertainment
01 February 2022
“A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”
The House in the Cerulean Sea quite literally changed my life. Pre-Covid I was working overseas on a large circus show and my whole world came to a crashing halt almost overnight. Coming home, concluding that my vocation no longer existed, I had to rethink what I wanted to do with my life and at Christmas 2020, I was given this book by my wife, Theresa.
I was so taken by the story that I made Theresa read it immediately and started recommending it to everyone who had the slightest interest in reading. I tried to find copies to purchase locally as gifts, only to discover it was difficult to get not only this story, but many other queer titles in Aotearoa-New Zealand. The alternative was having to wait for weeks, sometimes months, to receive titles from overseas. The only option seemed to be joining a waitlist of over 100 people at the regional libraries.
Through this experience I decided that I wanted to combine two of my passions: reading and rainbow activism. So I started an online LGBTQIA+ bookstore that is not only for the rainbow community but also supporting non-profit organisations that look after queer youth.
But back to the book. The main thing I love about this book is that it isn’t about the main character being gay – he just is – and it’s mentioned casually and in an offhand way, because it isn’t something that defines him, it’s just a part of him. And yet the entire story is about being othered by society because of who you were born as. It’s the epitome of the found family trope and because of this the story feels like it wraps you in a big hug and just holds you for a while. It’s gorgeous.
It’s a wholesome fairy tale story about finding where you belong. Who doesn’t want that?
The book uses magic as an allegory for queerness and it focuses on ‘dangerous’ magical children that are in government care and those that care for them. Also, it is probably worth mentioning that one of the characters is the Antichrist, who is a 6-year-old boy. A child. A child who is shunned by the world he exists in because of presumptions that people have made about him.
For me as a person, what I am trying to do with my life, the job I work, and the business I run is just that – create a community, help others feel seen and loved and appreciated; have them feel safe and help them find family, even if that family only exists between the covers of a book.
This is the reason my small family business exists and that this book will forever be the first recommendation I will give to anyone. I am stoked that ‘The House in the Cerulean Sea’ is being used in a competition to celebrate kiwi pride season and I hope that it leaves the readers with a warm feeling and a whole lot of love.