Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Throughout "Saltwater", it is the sea which is the most constant. The sea characterises each story in this, Lane Ashfeldt’s first collection of short stories. The sea both causes and bears witness to our despairs and triumphs.Ashfeldt’s stories take place in a variety of destinations. Haiti, Greece, England, and New Zealand are all settings where the sea both destroys and redeems mankind.
Set during the earthquake which hit Haiti in 2010 "Catching the Tap-tap to Cayes-de-Jacmel" tells the story of Lucien a young man trapped under the rubble of a collapsed cinema where he worked. A country boy he longs to return to the countryside and the familiarity of his home town.
"Dancing On Canvey" relates how a girl, who wants desperately to grow up, survives the flooding of her island home, in the Thames Estuary. First loves and their mysteries are swept away and nothing for her will ever be the same again.
The title story "Saltwater" concerns the a group of sailors who take their craft from Ireland to Cornwall to collect china clay for the Arklow Pottery. A seemingly innocent commercial journey but one which is set during WWII. As the sailors battle for survival the story also relates an outing the wife of the captain takes with her children, but even this simple trip is not without incident.The main strength of this collection is the ability of the author, in a few deft sentences, to get into the mind of her characters. We empathise with them and find ourselves cheering them on as they battle through whatever life throws their way. Lane Ashfeldt is an author destined to have a bright and glorious future.