I’d earlier read [Welsh writer Cynan Jones’s] novels The Dig, about a face-off between a violent misfit and a family man over a badger den, and The Long Dry, a chronicle of life on a cattle farm during a difficult summer. Both were terse and quietly potent, minimalist epics of elemental conflict between men and women, between urban and rural attitudes, between human desires and animal instincts. There’s nothing better than a short book containing big themes, and these were heartbreakingly good examples of the form.
Fan that I am, when I was offered a pre-publication peek at his latest novel, Cove, I snatched it immediately. The galley lacked cover art and jacket copy, so I plunged in cold. I was immediately transported onto the water, floating by the side of a lone kayaker enjoying a recreational day of fishing in the sun. Simple stuff, but as always with Jones, incredibly vivid and immersive. And then … something happened. Only a quarter of the way through this slim book, the protagonist and I were stunned into immobility, surrounded by hailstones and ash, disoriented and in pain, desperate to survive. It took pages for me to figure out what was going on and I felt I was living the experience of the narrative more strongly than I have with any previous book. Everything became perfectly clear by the end, but the tremendous shock in the middle helped sear Cove into my memory.
–James Crossley, Island Books, Mercer Island, WA