• The Fiction Fox

Review: Cove - Cynan Jones



Genre: Literary fiction, novella Published: Granta Books, november 2016 My Rating: 2/5 stars



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 leave only the core behind. Cove embodies that philosophy to the extreme, in both story-themes, as well as style. With only 99 pages, and nothing there that doesn’t absolutely need to be there, it’s a textbook example of minimalism in writing. It’s technically well done, however, personally I felt like Jones may have stripped away a little too much from this novella. It gets its message across in the few words it uses, yet didn’t do much more for me than that. The trick to minimalism is to strip away enough to leave only the essential, yet don’t strip off any more to lose personality. To me, the latter happened to Cove, despite its best efforts.

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