Review: ‘We Were The Salt Of The Sea’, by Roxanne Bouchard, trans. by David Warriner



Published By: Orenda

Publication Date: 28th February 2018

I.S.B.N.: 9781912374038

Format: Paperback

Price: £8.99

Information here






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 Gaspe Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves.

My Review

Thanks to Anne Cater for organising the blog tour for this book and Orenda for supplying the uncorrected proof copy.

I’m sat here with a blanket folded like a shawl over my shoulders, trying to keep warm as the Beast from the East blows it’s second wind. My fence has almost completely collapsed and I really want some chocolate, but I am not going out in that weather. I went to bed early last night, the house is cold but under the blankets it’s warm and it saves on the gas. I took this book up with me. I’d read 48 pages before, unable to keep my hands off the book, but had to put it down to finish other books scheduled for review. Last night, I thought ‘let’s crack on with this one‘, and stayed up way past my bedtime reading the final 220 pages.

I was gripped by the lyrical storytelling and the mystery of Marie Garant. Catherine’s search for her mother and D.S. Morales inept, distracted investigation, Cyrille’s slow revelation of their history and Vital’s anger, wove together into a complex song of the sea, and love, in all its complexities. Catherine gets so close to the answers she seeks but is still so far, the answers are on the horizon but she’ll never reach them.

Each of the characters are complete people with histories and unique personalities. Some of them would be rather irritating to know in person, and some are endearing, once you get to know them. The translation is well done, and the writing is musical, poetic, sometimes confusing, as one narrative weaves into another, changing and breaking, like the waves.

5/5 – One of my favourites so far in 2018



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