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Sea Monsters

Sea Monsters

Author(s): Chloe Aridjis

Location(s): Zipolite

Genre(s): Fiction

Era(s): 19880s

One autumn afternoon in Mexico City, 17-year-old Luisa does not return home from school. Instead, she boards a bus to the Pacific coast with Tomás, a boy she barely knows. He seems to represent everything her life is lacking – recklessness, impulse, independence – and may also help her fulfil an unusual obsession: to track down a troupe of Ukrainian dwarfs who have recently escaped a Soviet circus touring Mexico. They head for Zipolite, the ‘Beach of the Dead’, a community peopled by hippies, nudists, beach combers and eccentric storytellers, and Luisa searches for someone, anyone, who will ‘promise, no matter what, to remain a mystery’. But as she wanders the shoreline, she begins to discover that a quest is more easily envisioned than accomplished.

And so unfolds a phantasmagorical tale of adolescence, transgression and disenchantment in late 1980s Mexico, a place of long nights, insistent sun and relentless rain. Sea Monsters is an intoxicating evocation of past selves and buried histories, the pull of fantasy colliding with the stark light of reality – a dreamlike yet vivid novel about the moments and mysteries that shape us.

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021