Review: The Dead Eye and the Deep Blue Sea

One of the luxuries of modern life is the growing distance between us and what we eat. As we throw down bits of fruits, grains, fluids, and flesh down our gullet, we hardly take a thought about who cultivated them and in what manner. Or maybe we are afraid of what we might find if we peer too long down that rabbit hole. Yet there is an ugly underbelly to food production today - from bee-killing chemicals, slavery, unethical genetic enhancement, cruel treatment of animals, and so on. 

The Dead Eye and the Deep Blue Sea is a true life story that explores all the above themes. It is a story of  Vannak Anan Prum, a man lured on a shipping boat where he, alongside other unfortunate souls, are forced to toil for years without pay, without seeing land, feeding on little food, getting maimed or killed by sea creatures and ship nets. Vannak is one of many people forced to work under inhumane conditions to feed others in different parts of the world.

Anyone with interest in the economic and social state of the present world.

The theme of slavery, cruelty, poverty, the state of the world's waterways, and the sad ways people with insane wealth keeps trying to accumulate more at the expense of others are very much at the forefront here. Though the story is written in a journal-like format (with pictures on most pages), it works well to engage the imagination. The narration is immersive and the emotional impact of the pictures is something readers have to experience for themselves. This is a book that will change your mind about few issues we face today.


The Dead Eye and the Deep Blue Sea by Vannak Anan Prum is available to buy from all major online bookstores from June, 2018. Many thanks to Seven Stories Press for review copy.


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