Title: Sea of Strangers
Author: Lang Leav
Published: January 9, 2018
Goodreads summary: Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav picks up from her previous international bestselling books including Love & Misadventure, Lullabies, and The Universe of Us, and sets sail for a grand new adventure.
This completely original collection of poetry and prose will not only delight her avid fans but is sure to capture the imagination of a whole new audience. With the turn of every page, Sea of Strangers invites you to go beyond love and loss to explore themes of self-discovery and empowerment as you navigate your way around the human heart.
Before I dive into this let me say that I never had any intentions to read this book. I found myself looking at it in Barnes and Nobles and since I was going to be there for a while, why not? I don’t normally read poetry because of how personal it can be, but because I’ve enjoyed some of Lang’s prose on her instagram I decided it couldn’t hurt to see other pieces.
What made me gravitate towards the book in the first place was the cover. The title is printed in a soft, coral pink over a denim blue backdrop which strangely worked. Usually, these two colors would clash, but here they created a comfortable ambiance; it feels almost nostalgic to what I’d consider an 80’s color scheme. Also depicted on the cover is a young woman, alluding to the protagonist and possibly a stand-in of Lang herself. I felt particularly drawn in because of her short bob cut and Asian-inspired fashion so, I also felt it was me on the cover. It wasn’t hard to find out the artist of said picture is GG, ohgigue.com. The cover itself was soft, a kind of matte texture that made it soothing to touch, nothing like the slippery gloss cover books tend to opt for.
As for the book itself it’s a collection of prose and poetry so, I was able to finish it in one sitting. The writing was not difficult to read and each piece except for one only took up a single page, specifically the right hand side. The one that took up two pages were printed facing each other. Lang doesn’t make any extreme choices in formatting, they’re very short paragraphs or a string of few lines. I appreciated that because poetry being visual is rarely an interest for me. The themes that run throughout are love, heartbreak, and relationships with the individual and the world. The few that stuck out to me were the ones that Lang has personally posted on her Instagram such as Once in Love:
I don’t think you need to be in love to write. But you had to have been once.
It’s these simple lines that strike a chord with you because it’s so vague it can apply to almost anyone anywhere in their lifetime. I connected with Once in Love because I’ve been wondering how I can create worlds and characters when I myself am cooped up inside my head. Sure, I can write it, but to write it without truly feeling it once seems ridiculous. It feels fake, and that’s how I read this two-line prose.
Lang’s writing ultimately speaks to the current generation of artists, poets and writers. We grapple with this idea of uniqueness, but struggle to reflect it when the answer, like Lang’s writing, is simple. Struggle, struggle some more, but in the end when you’re tired and done, you find being yourself is the best course.
From me, I give this collection a 5 out of 5. I can appreciate the collection’s ability to make me reflect often, but it can get mentally tiring so the only thing I have to say is read it with breaks. Maybe that’s how you should read poetry and prose collections, but again, I’m a novel reader.
You can purchase the collect Sea of Strangers on Lang Leav’s site.