The Books and  the Sea

“In the books, I found storms of a different kind … I saw a waywardness and a distraction known only to the blind. I heard strange songs caught between the words of the books, sung from the very depth of men’s throats, calling their spirits to arms.”

The Books And The SeaThis enigmatic collection of short stories is Jane Coutts’ second book. It tells old tales in a new and challenging way and, in so doing, awakens our imagination.

The Three Knots explores the strange and enduring relationship between a boy, his father, his aunt, and the sea. The Ornithologist is the tale of a boy who creates images of birds with his camera which are more beautiful than anyone is capable of understanding, and in the haunting narrative of The Snake Skin a man learns how to tread the thin line between this life and the next by carrying with him a love which can never be.

The Poems of Ossian is a story of coincidence and the appreciation of books and art for their own sake. It explores the difficulties of maintaining these values in a world where authenticity is traded as a commodity. The final tale, The Long Wait, ventures into the controversial area of mental aberration, and whether it should be defined and accepted in its own terms or as a problem which inconveniences others.

Taken as a whole, this poetic and thought-provoking collection encourages us to seek out our place in the scheme of things, however bizarre it may be and whatever the social pressure to do otherwise.

The Books and the Sea

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