Today it is my turn on the BlogTour for this wonderful combination of literary, crime and maritime fiction, We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard, translated by David Warriner. It is a true testament of talent.
About the Author
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.
Follow @RBouchard72 @orendabooks
Translation by David Warriner @givemeawave
Buy We Were the Salt of the Sea
About the book
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.
After many years of unanswered questions Catherine decides to try and poke a stick right into what she perceives to be a hornets nest. Instead she is confronted with a confusing contradiction of welcoming warmth and gnarly disdain.
The town has a Ryan’s Daughter attitude about it. The outsider who asks too many questions and threatens any insider becomes the enemy. Catherine is in the unenviable position of being disliked for her genetic connection to Marie, and yet at the same time liked for her lack of relationship to her mother.
Not everyone understands the need for connection or closure in an adopted child, in this case given away for safekeeping child. You can love the people who raise you unconditionally, and yet still have a burning desire to find a biological connection to the person who gave you away. Catherine is torn between wanting to finally meet her biological mother and avoiding an encounter between the two of them.
The real question she has is which man managed to impregnate her mother. Who is her father? Simultaneously this story is also her path towards acceptance and freedom. Sometimes the past doesn’t leave enough information or clues, and the so-called witnesses may never part with their important memories.
Bouchard gives the reader much more than just a story about a search for answers and the closure for a woman without familial ties. Bouchard hands us the sea on a silver platter. You can taste the salt, feel the waves, and are almost convinced to set sail on the open seas yourself. In contrast to that scenario the author presents the dangers of the sea. Looking out upon the calm surface bobbing softly along as the sun sets and sinks on the horizon, the mind is tricked into believing the Fata Morgana of pure innocence. So many set sail on the premise of sanctity and peace, only to be taken hostage by the wild uncontrollable nature of the oceans.
As if that wasn’t enough incentive to read this book then perhaps the subtle crime story the author has woven into the delicate fabric of this combination of literary, crime and maritime fiction.
Bouchard’s writing is as smooth as caramel sauce being poured into a bowl of melted chocolate. Fortunately Warriner’s translation reproduces this warm comfortable flow beautifully. Barring the excessive use of ‘Christ in a chalice and Hee’ this is a stunning lyrical read, and I expect to be seeing Bouchard’s name on award lists.
Buy We Were the Salt of the Sea at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.