Incredibly atmospheric! The further I got into this book the more I became convinced the story would not end well; I couldn’t see how it could be otherwise. Without giving anything away I will just say that when the ending came I thought ‘How apt. Perfect’.
The wildness, of characters and setting, is consistent from start to finish. The bone-chilling cold of the sea and terrible weather wafted out of the pages and into my bones. I had to put the heating on. The language was like a pop-up picture book opening up scene after scene. The dialogue of these illiterate and mostly ignorant fishing folk did its job in revealing their characters to me. Higson is a helluva story teller.
The story? It follows a few days in the life of Amy Trott, a 15 year old living in a poor fishing village on the wild UK Yorkshire coast. Everyone ekes a precarious living looking out for themselves. There’s no room for caring about neighbours. Anyone thought to be even a little different is treated harshly and Amy is that little bit different, thought to be simple. Her only protector is her father. There are two young men who have soft spots for her but neither knows how to show it and lack the courage to try. Amy collects flithers, limpets, from the rocky shore for her fisherman father to use as bait on his lines. It’s back-breaking dangerous work. The year is 1915 and paranoia regarding the Germans abounds. So when Amy finds one washed up on the rocks her life becomes very precarious indeed.
This is the story of people struggling to exist and find their place in that existence. Wrap your hands around a hot coffee or chocolate and let Graham Higson immerse you in Amy’s life.