Read on for my review:
We Were the Salt of the Sea
By Roxanne Bouchard
Translated by David Warriner
Published by Orenda Books (E-book - out now; Paperback - 30 March 2018)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher.
As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation. On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters. It’s enough to make DS Morales reach straight for a large whisky…
We Were the Salt of the Sea is a character-led literary crime novel set in a remote Quebec setting.
When the body of nomadic and mysterious Marie Garant is discovered tangled in a fishing net, it's up to newly located Detective Joaquin Morales to decide whether she drowned or whether her death was more sinister. Meanwhile Catherine Day, a young woman from Montreal, is visiting the remote fishing village to search for her birth mother. It doesn't take too long before their paths collide.
The book is well translated by David Warriner, and beautifully written with exquisite prose and well-observed descriptions. The small cast of varied characters and the remote setting give the book a claustrophobic feel. Each character has their own quirk that is apparent in their appearance, mannerisms and dialogue, creating a novel with a uniqueness that will be hard to forget.
But most of all, this book is about the sea - its uncertainty and unpredictability, its rawness and beauty. The vivid descriptions left me with a yearning to visit Canada (again) and experience the natural beauty of Quebec's coastline for myself.
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