Author: Cynan Jones
Genre(s): Literary Fiction
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible
Out at sea, in a sudden storm, a man is struck by lightning. When he wakes, injured and adrift on a kayak, his memory of who he is and how he came to be there is all but shattered. Now he must pit himself against the pain and rely on his instincts to get back to shore, and to the woman he dimly senses waiting for his return.
I’ve never been a big fan of short stories or novellas. I normally need at least 300+ pages in order to get fully invested into a story and really enjoy it. Cove is a clear exception to that rule. Reading it proved to be a very captivating and visceral experience, despite it’s relatively short length. It may have less than a hundred pages, but there’s so much raw intensity packed into those pages!
“He looks at the stars, sees those on the horizon. That some of them might be the lights of ships, of land, he can’t allow himself to think. Cannot allow himself to imagine the warmth, the food, the safety they would mean. It is better they are stars. That they are out there somewhere in the same infinity as him. That they are not real beacons.”
“With the knowledge of her had come the need to ease her worry. It was impossible for him to believe he would die, but it was possible for him to believe he could leave her alone. Her and the child.
The real fear he was trying to keep the lid on was for them.”
This is a book that is definitely intended to be read in one sitting, but not rushed, just slowly savored. It feels almost like reading a poem. The author has a very unique prose. He uses short, verse-like sentences in a minimalist style, reminiscent of Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea, but with vivid imaginary. It was so easy for me to picture myself on that kayak along with the main character, battling against nature and struggling to survive.
“The sunfish stayed with him for hours. It could be said it steered him. It was almost the size of the kayak in length and bumped and rubbed the boat with a droll instinct, as a cow might a post.
The sunfish is not fishable, not edible, and no instinct has been driven into it to stay away from man. And perhaps it was the warmth of the boat it liked, with the plastic heated by the sun. Or perhaps it was something more.
But it stayed and bumped the boat for hours, and by doing so steered it; and it cannot be known whether it was deliberate, benevolent, that it did not steer the kayak farther out to sea.”
I am not going to be forgetting this book anytime soon. It was lyrical and beautiful, but at the same time, emotional and raw. An absolutely profound read. I highly recommend it to readers of all types.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Thank you to Catapult Books for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.