3.5 out of 5 stars

He is far away from the coast for it to be a pale line on the horizon when he notices something when sitting in the kayak; the hairs on his arms all stand on end, before lying back down again, the is a movement in the water that rushes past and the birds that were floating in the sea suddenly lift and flee.

Not long after he sees a flash, but he only realises that it is lightning out to sea when the rumble of thunder catches up with him. Another flash and he counts the gap to the thunder, the wind rises and he gauges just how far it is to the shore before the next strike seems to rip the sky apart.

That was the last thing that he remembers before coming too still in the kayak. He is injured and he has no recollection of how he ended up there. He must use every ounce of strength that he has left to try to make it back to shore as he feels that he has someone there waiting for him.

A metallic sheen comes to the water, like cutlery. Like metal touched. The white clouds glow, go a sort of leaden at the edge.

This is a sparsely written novella about a man who is fighting for his very life having just survived a lightning strike. In this brevity, Jones manages to convey the menace of the sea that takes as much life as it gives. He also somehow manages to encompass in such few words the emotional and physical trauma of this man’s experience. I didn’t quite like this as much as Stilicide, but I am very impressed by how Jones can be so descriptive about the seascape and the trauma of the situation with so few words.

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