Salt [NOOK Book]


A family saga that explores the relationship between people and the landscape in which they live, Jeremy Page's atmospheric and lyrical debut novel is revelatory in its use of language and is the work of a significant new writer. Salt tells of a German airman who falls from the sky in 1945 and lands in the middle of a salt marsh in England. Goose, a local woman, digs him up and brings him home. After staying for just nine months, he vanishes in a makeshift boat, leaving Goose behind with a newborn daughter, Lil. ...
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A family saga that explores the relationship between people and the landscape in which they live, Jeremy Page's atmospheric and lyrical debut novel is revelatory in its use of language and is the work of a significant new writer. Salt tells of a German airman who falls from the sky in 1945 and lands in the middle of a salt marsh in England. Goose, a local woman, digs him up and brings him home. After staying for just nine months, he vanishes in a makeshift boat, leaving Goose behind with a newborn daughter, Lil. Taught to read the clouds by her mother, Lil's childhood is curious and strange, but when she becomes the object of two brothers? desire, her life takes a tragic turn. Fifteen years later, it is Lil's son, Pip, who attempts to make sense of his family's intriguing history. Beguiled by the lovely Elsie who lives nearby, Pip grows up in the marsh like generations before him?but will their unfortunate past repeat itself?.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This remarkable first novel by British script editor Page elevates a tragic family history to the level of myth. In "the dying months of the Second World War," Goose, a strange, isolated woman who reads omens in the clouds and lives alone in a cottage on the salt marshes of Norfolk, England, finds a German soldier partially buried in the marsh mud. She takes him in, he gets her pregnant and then he flees (on a makeshift boat featuring a quilt for a sail) while she's in labor. Daughter Lil, who grows up wild and strange, becomes the love interest of two brothers (named Shrimp and Kipper) and leaves the marshes in shame at age 16. The story is told through the eyes of Pip, Lil's son, whose inability (or unwillingness) to speak draws Lil and husband George back to the marshes and to Goose. The unforgiving landscape becomes one of the book's main characters; it's a ruthless, powerful force that claims Pip's family members one at a time. But it is Pip's infatuation with Elsie, an odd girl a few years his senior, that will have the direst consequences of all. Page has reinvented the fairy tale with this disturbing and magical saga. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Richard Eder
Thrilling and memorable.
Los Angeles Times
An extraordinary debut novel.
The Hartford Courant
Gorgeous in the telling and heartbreaking in its message . . . Salt is truly a book to savor.
Library Journal

British regional fiction from deep in the wetlands of the Fens region of Norfolk, this is a story told by Pip, mute from birth, about his strange family history. Near the end of World War II, his grandmother finds a German parachutist buried up to his neck in mud and takes him home; before he mysteriously vanishes, she becomes pregnant by him with a little girl, Pip's mother. Later, after the daughter marries and has Pip, she commits suicide, and Pip is left wandering among his moody father, his grandmother, his father's brother (who plays with fireworks), and a girl named Elsie as he tries to reassemble details of his family. Pip seems to inhabit a timeless and almost uncivilized world, one that the author extensively delineates, from the eels and samphire plants that they eat to the clouds they watch and interpret constantly. The result is really a long tone poem on the nature of life in a harsh and primitive environment. Certainly well written, this first novel, which recalls Graham Swift's earlier Waterland, is recommended for larger British fiction collections but may have limited appeal for the general reader.
—Jim Coan

Kirkus Reviews
A slowly paced debut novel in which the sights, smells and lore of the landscape of Norfolk, England, play at least as great a role as the characters who inhabit it. Pip Langore, the first-person narrator, recounts three generations of life around the sea and marshland of eastern England. He starts with the conception of his mother under bizarre circumstances, for his grandfather was a German paratrooper ("Hans," though called "Hands" by the locals) discovered buried neck-deep in mud in the tidal marshes. Pip's grandmother, Goose, pulls this soldier out and takes care of him until the birth of their daughter Lil' nine months later. Hands then literally sails away into the sunrise and is never heard from again. After Lil' becomes a young woman, she is courted by two brothers, Shrimp and Kipper Langore. She marries Shrimp, who wants to leave his "sealife" behind, symbolized by his reversion to his given name, George. Pip, the union of this marriage, has fewer and lesser expectations than his Dickensian namesake. For many years he refuses to speak and instead inscribes his thoughts on a tablet. Only Elsie, the remote object of his affection (and avatar of Estella), succeeds in bringing out his deep need to articulate his inchoate emotional life aloud. Toward the end of the novel, Pip reviews the destruction (and occasionally self-destruction) of many of the people with whom his life has been entwined, "all of them living and losing their way on this thin strip of saltmarsh which can never be called land and never be called sea." The characters exhibit a similar ambiguity and are never quite able to commit wholeheartedly to place, profession or each other. Ultimately, Pip realizes that Goosehas exerted the strongest influence in his life, a matriarch who "battl[es] the clouds," preserves family stories and never gives in to "the temptation to give up."Agent: Kate Jones/International Creative Management, Inc.
Library Journal
This haunting, beautifully realized novel concerns perhaps the most devastating loss one can experience—the loss of a child. At the center of the story is a young married man named Guy, a father who loses his beloved daughter in a bizarre and disastrous accident. This event hastens the end of his troubled marriage and sends Guy plunging into a dangerous existential crisis. The story is set in England, and the bulk of the novel focuses on Guy's travels on the North Sea aboard an old Dutch coastal barge that he has purchased and pilots alone, as he attempts to right himself by working through his grief and loneliness. Page (Salt) depicts Guy's devastating emotions superbly, engaging the themes of love and loss with remarkable tenderness, sympathy, and compassion. The descriptions of the sea, the weather, and the coastal estuaries that Guy visits are also powerful and poetic. VERDICT A poignant and heartbreaking novel enthusiastically recommended for all readers.—Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440634819
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/26/2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 602,807
  • File size: 312 KB

Meet the Author

Jeremy Page is the author of the novel Salt which was a finalist for both the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and the Jeff First Novel Award. He has previously worked as a scriptwriter and script editor of the BBC and Film Four. He lives in London with his wife and children.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 2 of 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013


    This is a great book of a life time

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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