Cove by Cynan Jones
A man is out at sea on a kayak; he has his father’s ashes with him. His thoughts ebb and drift, as does the water. Welsh writer Cynan Jones favours a cryptic, quasi-poetic style which is deliberate, at times forced. He looks to the suddenness of the moment and also chance bursts of violence. His stark, campaigning third novel, The Dig (2014) juxtaposes the brutality of badger baiting with that of a farmer grieving his wife’s accidental death. The book has a visceral power, if leaving the reader feeling privy to a theatrical event. Cove is even shorter. The man is the kayak inhabits a state of mind which transcends his immediate physical situation. A dark band on the horizon emerges, heralding a storm. Lightning strikes and he is stunned. Having had a similar experience I expected to believe in the narrative yet Jones pushes his word play “a toffee of dark blood” is repeated within pages as the “toffee of burnt butter” and a struggle to get to shore never becomes more than stagey, choreographed mood piece rife with symbolism.