Dark, Salt, Clear
A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE
‘A bracing account of discovery … Glistens with deftly told snippets and character-rich stories’ Financial Times
‘Marks the birth of a new star of non-fiction’ William Dalrymple
A captivating, lyrical and deeply discerning portrait of life in the Cornish town of Newlyn, the largest working fishing port in Britain, from a brilliant debut writer
There is the Cornwall Lamorna Ash knew as a child – the idyllic, folklore-rich place where she spent her summer holidays. Then there is the Cornwall she discovers when, feeling increasingly dislocated in London, she moves to Newlyn, a fishing town near Land’s End. This Cornwall is messier and harder; it doesn’t seem like a place that would welcome strangers.
Before long, however, Lamorna finds herself on a week-long trawler trip with a crew of local fishermen, afforded a rare glimpse into their world, their warmth and their humour. Out on the water, miles from the coast, she learns how fishing requires you to confront who you are and what it is that tethers you to the land. But she also realises that this proud and compassionate community, sustained and defined by the sea for centuries, is under threat, living in the lengthening shadow cast by globalisation.
An evocative journey of personal discovery replete with the poetry and deep history of our fishing communities, Dark, Salt, Clear confirms Lamorna Ash as a strikingly original new voice.
Lamorna Ash is a beautiful prose stylist - precise, perceptive, humane and sensitive - who somehow manages to write in a way that is both earthy and poetic. Her debut book - full of fish and blood and salt and oilskins - marks the birth of a new star of non-fiction With the heart of a novelist and the clarity of an ethnographer, Lamorna Ash reveals the Cornish fishing community of Newlyn in all its tension and hardship and wild joy. Dark, Salt, Clear is a book of deep immersion and a stunning debut Lamorna Ash evokes the vigour and complexity of the country's westernmost fishing port with a love only a granite heart could resist. As Cornwall's fishing and farming communities hold their breath to see whether leaving the EU will save or savage them, Dark, Salt, Clear arrives at the perfect time and should be cherished by natives, incomers and emmets alike Lamorna writes with a maturity and wisdom that betrays her years and which took me to the very heart of Newlyn while questioning my sense of belonging ... Dark Salt, Clear is a captivating homage to Newlyn and its people Lamorna Ash's beautiful debut is a seductive, vivid reading experience. A portrait of the life and unique character of a community, it is also an exploration of the spaces around a person, that make up the person - a young woman's search for her own identity and her self. You'll love her characters, because they've been written with love, and that makes them live on the page
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