MAKARA: a novel

a Lambda Literary Finalist in Debut Fiction:

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Any water was a way home …

What if you grew up with a seal mother and a human father?

Fionnuala is such a daughter: a part-human, part-seal Deaf woman who falls in love with Neela, a Hearing woman in India. While growing up with Neela’s family in Tamil Nadu, she struggles with her distant parents living apart in Ireland and Indonesia. Eventually her father brings her to Venice where she becomes a mime artist. What binds them all together is the unstoppable undercurrent of ache running through the sea of their lives.


“In MAKARA, Kristen Ringman celebrates [curates] the space between human and animal selves with tenderness and precision.  “She reached out and pulled me into her,” writes Ringman, “Her large seal body below me, human arms around me.”  What I love about this book is that migration does not function as a metaphor.  Instead, Ringman tracks the complex somatic occasion of cultural and sensory “arrival” of different kinds.  Ringman herself: an adventurer — the person who wrote this book draws upon her own physical memory of India, sea-crossings, touch: “Could I touch her like that?”  “I didn’t know where to go, so I climbed up the steps to the rooftop,” we read elsewhere. And follow the speaker there, to lean over and shimmer with her above a vista of street life: the ordinary magic of ants, bats, the color yellow, dogs, love, consumption.  I recommend this book to anyone who wants to travel to other worlds and realities in non-traditional ways and by radical means.  Do you want to shed your skin and slip into a new sea?  This book will show you how.”

~Bhanu Kapil, author of Schizophrene and Humanimal: A Project for Future Children

“In gorgeous, briny prose, Kristen Ringman’s novel grabbed my heart and didn’t let it go until the last page. Fionnuala is a delightful character who glides easily between the worlds of the sea and land, the deaf and the hearing, grief and joy. Both magical and raw, this story made me happy to be alive.”

~Lucy Jane Bledsoe, author of The Big Bang Symphony and The Ice Cave: A Woman’s Adventures from the Mojav to the Antarctic 


Read more reviews here:

Lambda Literary Review

Wordgathering Review

Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews

Deaf Pagan Crossroads