Cove – Cynan Jones

Madness in the meer:

Welsh author Cynan Jones plugs directly into the reader’s nightmares with his fifth novel, an ultra-minimalist tale of an injured man adrift at sea in a wrecked fishing boat. The effect is heightened by his frequent and unusual use of the second person, putting ‘you’ right in the middle of the ocean with a broken arm, few supplies and only the faintest hope of survival.

As befits such a desperate situation, everything is pared back to the very essentials. There is not a word wasted in these short, sharp, epigraphic paragraphs that rival even Hemingway in their terseness (and whose masterpiece, The Old Man and the Sea is an obvious antecedent).

At only 95 pages of skeletal prose, it’s as taut as trapped fishing-line, and possibly most effective when read in one sitting – though it may not be healthy to let your heart stop beating for that long.