Many thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for letting me part of this blog tour.
Blurb: 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… Both a dark and consuming crime thriller and a lyrical, poetic ode to the sea, We Were the Salt of the Sea is a stunning, page-turning novel, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
Review: I’m going to be completely honest here and say that I struggled with this book the whole way through and, upon reflection, I feel like I was one of the tourists described in it, someone who comes, rushes around and leaves without ever slowing down and appreciating the area properly.
It’s not because it’s a translation, I’ve read plenty of those and never had any issues, what I think was my problem was that I just couldn’t get into the style of writing. I’ve had a look at some of the other reviews from this tour so far and a few mention that it took time for them to get used to the writing and after that they fell in love with the book and I believe that is why I didn’t, I never got used to the writing style. It was something that simply didn’t work for me.
However, before you start to think I’m being negative here, I’m not. Even though I struggled with it I still became immersed in the story, the writing brings alive the characters and the sea, which is almost a character in itself and an integral part of the story. There’s a scene where Catherine, sits down with the lovely and intriguing Cyrille, and watches the sea while they talk and I could not only visualise the scene easily but I could hear the waves ebbing and flowing as they talked.
I’m a very visual reader, as I read (in any format) I see the story as a movie in my head, I always have done. For books I don’t enjoy at all, the movie stutters and comes through in bits and pieces. For books I enjoy it flows like any film you watch at the cinema or on tv, seamlessly. Although I didn’t get this book in the way others have, that film in my head flowed seamlessly, hence why I could see the waves, the boats coming in with their morning catch, the characters themselves, everything even down to the coffees and scrambled eggs. That for me is the sign of a good story, one that is well told, has a good amount of description and characters that are rounded rather than flat.
Despite the fact that this story didn’t quite work for me I can understand why others are giving it glowing reviews and calling it one of the best books of 2018. It’s not going to be to everyone’s taste, no book ever is, but I would still urge people to give it a go. You might be like me and not quite get it, but you might be like others who’ve read and loved it. Quite a few people have fallen in love with this book and I can completely understand why that is, I’m just sad that I’m not one of them.
Author bio: Ten years or so ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the Gaspé Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. We Were the Salt of the Sea is her fifth novel, and her first to be translated into English. She lives in Quebec.