All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Salvage – Jason Nahrung

on July 14, 2012

Salvage
Jason Nahrung
Twelfth Planet Press
2012, 180p
Read from my TBR pile

Richard and Melanie are attempting to mend their marriage and put a loss behind them by retreating to a small cabin on an island only accessible by barge. Melanie in particular is having a hard time recovering from what occurred, something that she went through alone as her workaholic husband was away. When they arrive at the cabin and Richard immediately begins unpacking his laptop and trying to connect to satellite internet, fiddling with his mobile phone and muttering to himself about the Mackenzie project that he’s working on, Melanie wonders just how committed her husband is to reconnecting with her and putting their marriage first.

Because of this she feels a restlessness, even further distancing herself from Richard. She walks the beach, spending time out of the cabin. When she and Richard see a young girl strip naked on the beach in their line of vision, Melanie admires her freedom and Richard admires her body. When Melanie comes face to face with the woman a day later and strikes up a strange and tentative friendship, Melanie finds herself drawn to Helena, despite Helena’s obvious oddities.

As Richard and Melanie get further involved with Helena and her husband Paul, they can’t help but notice the strained dynamic between the other couple. Richard thinks Melanie should let it lie and not interfere but Melanie cannot, especially given her and Helena’s intense yet brief moments together. Eventually Melanie will have to choose what life she wants – a safe, normal one with Richard or a dark, possibly immortal one with Helena…

I picked up a copy of Salvage  at Continuum 8 about a month ago. I attended the Friday night sessions and one of those was the Twelfth Planets Press launch party where they celebrated the release of several books (three of which I bought). This is the first one I’ve read and it packs quite a punch for a book of its slim size.

I was drawn in immediately by the description of the remote location, imagining the stretch of beach and the isolated cabin. Richard and Melanie had been here before and it was once a scene of happy memories but Melanie can’t help but see it a little differently now, given the loss she suffered. It’s highlighted quite early on and it meant she had my sympathies right away, especially as it seems that pains were taken to establish Richard as distant, almost flippant about it. He can’t even take a break for one week to help his wife grieve and heal over a loss that should’ve also been his. Whilst he is off busy with work, Melanie begins spending time with Helena, one part of the other couple holidaying on the island.

There is clearly something off about Helena from the beginning, her speech and mannerisms are unusual, her complexion different and her mysterious ‘illness’ vague and unclear. Melanie recognises this on some level but it’s either she doesn’t care or she can’t care because she is so fascinated by Helena. I think she feels that Helena understands her, or at least attempts to understand her and is interested in her in ways that it seems Richard no longer is anymore. Melanie and Richard don’t talk which it seems would be essential for any couple to get through what they have suffered. They snap, they snark, they get pissy at each other and one of them leaves. I’m not entirely sure what Richard was angry over, if it was really that he just expected Melanie to be fine and ready to go again then he needed a bit of a wake up call. But Richard was never going to understand if Melanie didn’t find the ways in which to properly explain how she was feeling. So I do wish personally that their marriage had been a little more deeply explored.

This book is subtle and clever in the way in which it fleshes out Helena as a character, always hinting at something. The writing is deceptively simple and sparse. This isn’t a book I probably would’ve normally chosen to read if I hadn’t of been at Continuum, I was drawn in by the cover, which is fabulous. I’m so glad that I did end up buying it because I really enjoyed it and it’s made me very keen to read some more of this author’s work as this is a beautiful depiction of a marriage tinged with  darkness and horror. I’m super impressed by the work being put out by Twelfth Planet Press so far – this is the 3rd book I’ve read from them this year and they’ve all been so intriguing. The first two were short stories and I have about another 4 books of short stories here to complete. Must get stuck into them and soon.

8/10

Book #134 of 2012


3 responses to “Salvage – Jason Nahrung

  1. Marg says:

    I am so glad that you are enjoying the Twelve Planet books! I think I have liked them all so far!

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