"[A] piercing novella. Like Cormac McCarthy, Jones can make the everyday sound fraught and biblical." — , starred review
"Jones's perfectly pitched novel will appeal to anyone looking beyond sheer thrills." —
"This slim volume has all the gravity of a black hole, and reading it is like standing on the event horizon. It's like a more beautiful Cormac McCarthy; a darker W.H. Auden." — Elliot Bay Book Company
“Jones is a Welsh writer who has been compared to Cormac McCarthy, but his sparse style also recalls Ernest Hemingway.”
"There's nothing bucolic about this elemental, extraordinary tale of good and evil." —
“Jones deftly explores his characters’ motives, particularly the hope they cling to despite the risks they take.”—
“It’s as if the novel is the slowed-down spinning of a bullet through the grooves of a barrel, waiting to be released into the world.”—
“Darkly luminous. [Jones] builds tension in an ultimately gripping and important story that transcends its own bleakness.”—
When a net is set, and that's the way you choose, you'll hit it. Hold, a Welsh fisherman, Grzegorz, a Polish migrant worker, and Stringer, an Irish gangster, all want the chance to make their lives better. One kilo of cocaine and the sea tie them together in a fatal series of decisions.
Waking up early to check the cattle, Gareth notices one of the calving cows is missing and sets off to find her before the sun gets too strong. What follows is a search through memory and anxiety about losing what he has as Gareth walks the land looking for the missing cow. Increasingly, the narrative is disturbed by arresting and often brutal imagery as things chip away at Gareth's patience and the need to find the cow becomes more pressing. The day unfolds, and the cow's behaviour emerges as a metaphor for the relationship between Gareth and his wife Kate as they stumble on desperately in their changing care for each other. Only the reader is aware of the tragedy that awaits the family a few days down the line, throwing the story into shadow with a terrible poignancy.
This is a searing short novel, built of the interlocking fates of a badger-baiter and a disconsolate farmer, unfolding in a stark rural setting where man, animal, land and weather are at loggerheads. Their two paths converge with tragic inevitability. Jones writes of the physiology of grief and the isolation of loss with brilliance, and about the simple rawness of animal existence with a naturalist's unblinking eye. His is a pared-down prose of resonant simplicity and occasional lushness. His writing about ducks and dogs and cows is axe-sharp. There is not a whiff of the bucolic pastoral or the romanticized sod here. This is a real rural ride. It is short, but crackles with latent compressed energy that makes it swell to fill more space than at first glance it occupies.