The lives of three men, each looking for a chance to break the bonds of their circumstances, are brought suddenly into collision in this long-awaited second novel by Cynan Jones.
Hold, the west Wales fisherman, dreams of making enough money to realise the unfulfilled ambition of his dead friend by helping his widow and young son restore the half-ruined family home. His discovery of a dead body in a drifting boat suddenly offers a dangerously tempting solution. Stuck in endless, badly-paid work and depressing, shared accommodation, the Polish migrant worker, Grzegorz, suffers guilty regret at uprooting his family but knows that there can be no return to Poland and worse poverty; he cannot refuse the unofficial job the fixers offer. The big Irishman, haunted by the memory of his brother’s body fished out of the river, finds it hard to adapt to the changed rules of today’s criminal world. One decision sets in motion a fatal sequence of events, one sea brings them together.
Elements of the thriller combine with a sympathetic exploration of the ambiguities of morality and an unerring eye for the significance of apparently trivial detail, in this powerful, characteristically understated novel. Exploring the unsung heroism of the common man who challenges but fails to avert his fate, Cynan Jones expertly weaves the threads of his narrative into a thoughtful, compelling whole.
'As in William Faulkner's most moving work, Jones seemingly surveys the whole of existence by describing the humblest details of life on this postage-stamp of unnamed Welsh soil.'
'Jones's sense of place is acute, and his passion for the landscape – for its colours, its creatures, its textures, its scents – is absolutely magnetic.'