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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  970 ratings  ·  204 reviews
Out at sea, in a sudden storm, a man is struck by lightning. When he wakes, injured and adrift on a kayak, his memory of who he is and how he came to be there is all but shattered. Now he must pit himself against the pain and rely on his instincts to get back to shore, and to the woman he dimly senses waiting for his return.
Kindle Edition, 112 pages
Published November 3rd 2016 by Granta Books
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  970 ratings  ·  204 reviews

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Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2018-completed
A man is out fishing in his kayak, loving his life, and enjoying the day. A rogue thunderstorm charges in toward land and he is caught too far from shore to make it back. Thunder and lightning split the air into atomic particles and he knows he’s in trouble. Then lightning strikes.

This novelette is a petrifying story as the protagonist struggles with - and against - the ominous and omnipotent power of nature holding him in its grasp. He can’t remember who he is or what he is doing out there – no
A raw, mesmerising, narrative poem, albeit disguised as prose.

A-lone, in a kayak, to scatter his father’s ashes.
A communion - with memories, with the elements.
A transformation in an instant - disconnected from everything, from himself.
A battle to survive - to get to safety, to return to “her” and their unborn child...

"If you disappear you will grow into a myth for them.
You will exist only as absence.
If you get back, you will exist as a legend.

Image: Calm before the storm. “Catch the
Diane S ☔
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A man, his name is never mentioned, goes out to sea in his kyak, to scatter his father's ashes. A storm arises unexpectedly, and the man is struck by lightening. His memory now I fragments, survival becomes his focus. A novella that ecapsulates the elemental theme of man versus nature.

Written in a very stark, to the point style, we are furnished with only enough to highlight the plight of this man. The visceral descriptions of sea, birds and fish contrast the beauty of his surrounding as he is b
Richard Derus
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Don't ever, ever think you're in a dark place again, is the primary message of this novella-cum-prose poem.
He is holding his hands in the water, rubbing the blood from them, when the hairs on his arms stand up. The sway briefly, like seaweed in the current. Then lie down again.

He looks up. A strange ruffle come across the surface.

The birds had lifted suddenly and gone away. As if there were some signal. They are flecks now, a hiatus disappearing against the light off the sea.

He is far enough out
Peter Boyle
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a mere slip of a book, coming in at just under a hundred pages. It can be comfortably read in a single sitting but the unsettling story which lies behind its beautiful cover will not easily be forgotten.

A man is at sea in a kayak, intending to scatter his father's ashes, when a storm suddenly breaks and he is struck by lightning. He awakes some time later, partially paralysed and with a fractured memory. Adrift miles from land, he must fight the unbearable pain and use every sailing tric
Betsy Robinson
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Betsy by: Doug H
This is a tiny masterpiece (92 pages with plenty of empty space in them) and possibly the most immediately visceral book I’ve ever read. How on earth did Cynan Jones write this without firsthand experience of being hit by lightning and adrift in the ocean? I cannot imagine how anybody could write this, yet it inspires me as a writer to discover my own depths in a new way.

I am so glad that an audio book of this does not exist, and it never should. This is a story and voice that you need to hear r
Diane Barnes
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"It does not matter who you are. You know what you are physically, and that you're in a kayak somewhere on the ocean. It only matters what you are, right now".

As a reader, that is exactly where I am, with this unnamed man trying to survive after being struck by lightning. I have never read anything that so immediately placed me in the mind and body of the narrator as this did so completely. I felt the salt on my skin, the terrible thirst, the terror of my predicament, and tiny rays of hope as I
Doug H
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Five stars and an immediate jump to my favorites list!

In the opening pages of this brilliant short novel, a pregnant woman walking in a field finds the picked over carcass of a homing pigeon that has been attacked by a falcon.

First the burst of feathers; further on, the wing, torn off at the shoulder. It had blown across the field like a sail, the sinews and scraps of it dried translucent in the sun.

She senses that the pigeon was trying to get back home but had been thrown off track, that it
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hauntingly beautiful. A simple serene story, beautifully told. About a man who goes out into the sea to shatter the ashes of his father when a lightingstorm overtakes him and knocks him out. When he recovers conciousness he is severely wounded. He tries to survive and reach land.

This is my last book of 2017 i presume ;) Happy 2018 everyone!
Diane S ☔
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
Thoughts soon.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2019
A short, intense, poetic novella telling of a man struggling to survive in a kayak at sea, with no paddle and only one working arm, after being struck by lightning. Every word counts.

This book grew out of the short story "The Edge of the Shoal", which won the BBC National Short Story award in 2017.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cynan Jones is an author I’ve been interested in for a while, so I finally decided to pick up Cove for Novellas in November. It’s under 100 pages and it’s the sort of book that raises more questions than it answers, so I’m finding it particularly difficult to review, but I also found it to be an incredibly worthwhile read.

Set out at sea, Cove follows a man in a kayak who’s been struck by lightning. It’s a traditional survival story in that sense, but nothing about this book is straightforward; i
4.5 stars.

“Cove2 (kəʊv) n. a fellow; a man.”

A vivid, short story about a man who sets out in a kayak to scatter his father’s ashes into the ocean. When the man is struck by lightning, we readers are plunged into his condition and his struggle to survive. Instead of trying to analyze this read, I’m going to share a few of the images Cynan Jones etched deep into my mind: a sea-tossed doll, a frying pan, 4 inches of fresh water, a mystical sunfish, a floating metal sign, a swollen belly, a finger t
Moira Macfarlane
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
Read as slow as I could in an empty room in the fading light. A very serene and intense story.
Kasa Cotugno
Sometimes the smallest packages can deliver the largest jolt. As others have noted, this is an almost poetic novella in which a man in a kayak finds himself adrift after being struck by lightning. With no recall of his name or anything else beyond the urgent need for survival, he connects to his innermost essence. And his reasoning for survival: "If you disappear you will grow into a myth for them. You will exist only as absence. If you get back, you will exist as a legend." If anything, I was r ...more
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very intense story about a man adrift in a kayak on the sea. He fights to survive. Told with very few words.
Feb 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

I have not read this type of book before in terms of structure and the way the story was told. It felt like I was reading a poem, it was very lyrical but I didn't have an issue with trying to picture, in my mind, the scenes of the man trying to survive at sea after losing his memory. It was an interesting read and one I enjoyed.
Every book of his I read further solidifies Cynan Jones' place amongst my favorite authors.

There is not one wasted word within the nintey-some pages of this novelette. Sparce, frantic, and raw, Cove demonstrates Jones' skill at toying with tension, pulling the reader along in fits and bursts, much like the push and pull of the ocean waves against our progatonist's kayak.
Justin Griffiths-Bell
This slender book, having the same dimensions as a collection of poetry, wants to be revisited, delved into and enjoyed like a collection of poetry. When I first picked it up, I idly read a page out of the middle, before I stopped myself, went to the beginning and read it in the conventional way. That’s something that I often do with poetry, less often with novels unsurprisingly enough. Likewise, I’ve read it through three times since having it. I have read some novels multiple times, but never ...more
Renee Godding
It does not matter who are. You know what you are physically, and that you’re in a kayak in the middle of the ocean. It only matter what you are, right now.

A man is struck by lightning whilst kayaking, and is left partially paralyzed and only barely clinging to life, adrift on the ocean. Left to the mercy of the elements, and his own thoughts, Cove is about survival, when you literally have nothing left.
Cynan Jones is known for his “bare-bone” books. He strips away anything unnecessary, to lea
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A spare but haunting novella about a lone man who is struck by lightening while kayaking to cast his fathers ashes on the sea. 4 stars
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.....not a single word wasted. Missing that half star because I don’t like speculation. Note:helpful to reread the beginning.
Karin Baele
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: te-herlezen
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2020
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 win
Andy Weston
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wales, novella
Despite its length, at 100 pages little more than a short story, Cynan Jones’s novella is a beautiful and memorable read. Lots happen in very few pages. The unnamed protagonist in his kayak has with him an urn of his father’s ashes, intending to scatter them at sea, but despite his considerable sailing experience, he is struck by lightning and battles to survive. The vivid descriptions allow us to feel the physical discomfort and flagging spirit of the kayaker.

Cove is a meditative look at a b
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: novella
Being from the flash world, this intrigued me. The writing is about as sparse as you can get in a work of prose. Some beautiful phrasing and strong images that reflected the incessant waves in the ocean. However, while I'm a fan of quiet books, this was a bit too quiet even for me. Not enough tension and I did not like the ending. Plus, if I had not gone back to browse the first part, I would not have gotten what he had tried to do with the plot. I would totally have missed it. That's all I will ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, travel
I loved this short enigmatic tale of a man facing infinity. A mixture of horror and wonder, of nature's stark indifference and benign attentiveness, translated into forthright but very suggestive prose. To be read in a single sitting.

Update: a story to be read and re-read. I loved this second traversal as much as the first. I'll keep returning to it.

Adriatic, 2017
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This little novella is fantastic! I loved reading it. Cynan Jones did a great job of describing this man's feelings, thoughts and everything he experiences first-hand as he comes to.
He gets struck by lightning when he is out on his kayak, and faces all kinds of trials and tribulations as he tries to limp his injured self to find land to get help. This was a great read. So much detail and depth was there to keep you turning the pages. It had an ending I did not expect! Twisty McTwisterson! Great
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short novella (or perhaps longish short story?), can and probably should be read (as I did) in a single sitting. Kind of an amalgamation of 'Life of Pi' and 'Old Man & the Sea', it is certainly lyrical and poetic, but not really my cuppa. ...more
Eric Anderson
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are some cataclysmic moments in life where it feels as if you’ve been totally thrown out of the normal flow of time. It might be a horrendous accident or the unexpected death of a loved one or the abrupt end of a relationship, but these moments often take on a kind of timelessness because it breaks our sense of identity; we become no one. The man at the centre of “Cove” experiences an extremely rare and dramatic event one day when fishing too far out at sea: a storm moves quickly in and he ...more
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Cynan Jones was born in 1975 near Aberaeron, Wales where he now lives and works.

He is the author of five short novels, The Long Dry, Everything I Found on the Beach, Bird, Blood, Snow, The Dig, and Cove.

He has been longlisted and shortlisted for numerous international prizes and won a Society of Authors Betty Trask Award (2007), a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize (2014), the Wales Book of the Year

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