‘Pick salad’: the man leaves the note for his pregnant wife and sets out alone from the seashore in his kayak. At his feet lies the plastic urn containing his dead father’s ashes, which he will scatter to the waves, and, remembering their fishing trips together, he will catch and bring home a fish for supper. The fish is caught but the seabirds that had accompanied him suddenly disappear, presaging the approaching thunderstorm. He awakes, finds himself adrift, frozen, unable to move, one arm paralysed by a lightning strike. In his flimsy craft and at the mercy of waves and weather he must gather thought and strength to survive, to reach land somehow, to return to his waiting, anxious wife.
Doggedly he clings on to life, plumbing the depths of his sea-knowledge in a world both immense and reduced to its basic elements, while past and present coalesce and he slips in and out of consciousness. Extraordinary in its lyric intensity, this sharply focused, poetic narrative is spare and unsparing, drawing the reader in like a strong current. Not a word is wasted, yet each line is full of distilled riches. Pushing its form to its limits, Cynan Jones’s latest novel is an unforgettable tour de force.
Cove was longlisted for the Europese Literatuurprijs, and is shortlisted for the 2017 Welsh Book of the year Award.
"Powerful, terrifying, brilliantly done."
"Searing, unflinching, exquisitely written."
“Cove finds this master of concision on remarkable form”
"Ultimately, the book is a contemplative look at the contradictory relationship between man and nature with a delicately laconic prose which gives us a graphic, palpable sense of the plight of the narrator. The structure of the novel is innovative, with every sentence executed with perfection and fragmentary paragraphs embodying the narrator’s disconnected state. Cove is an extraordinary novel with some terrific, illustrative prose and reading it is a thrilling, immersive experience."
Rabeea Saleem, Wales Arts Review
"Pared down... rippling, sensate writing. A terrific read."