Last semester my daughter, who was fourteen at the time, read Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, by Shyam Selvadurai, for her high school English class. She’s not really much of a reader, but she thought Swimming in the Monsoon Sea was a wonderful book: “It’s tragic and sad, yet beautiful. It makes you really think. A definite tear-jerker.”
Set in Sri Lanka, Swimming in the Monsoon Sea is a coming of age story about 13-year-old Amrith, who begins to feel the first stirrings of sexual feeling and comes to an understanding of his sexual identity after he meets and falls in love with his Canadian cousin Niresh, a loud and confident boy very unlike the people Amrith has grown up with.
My daughter was so taken with this book, she decided to base her Independent Studies Unit project on it. The following short film is inspired by Swimming in the Monsoon Sea; it’s her cinematic interpretation of what Amrith feels when he realizes he is in love with Niresh.
This is her first serious film: she wrote the script, and filmed, directed, and edited it. Her best friend plays the role of Amrith. She recently uploaded the film to YouTube, so I’m happy to have the chance to spotlight it in a post. Of course I’m biased about the film, but I was taken by how well the film evokes the boy’s feelings of angst.
Swimming in the Monsoon Sea was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Awards in 2005 in the category of Children’s Literature; it also won the 2005 Lambda Literary Award in the Children’s/Young Adult category.
You can read a review of the book at: