‘The silver dark sea’ by Susan Fletcher is a tale set on the island of Parla, a remote community a two hour ferry trip from the mainland. Although it isn’t made explicit it has the feel of a Scottish island. The islanders are struggling to come to terms with the drowning of Tom Bundy when a stranger is washed up on the shore.
The story is about grief and the various ways it can be experienced. It is very character focused, and as the tale unfolds you get a picture of the complex interconnectedness of a small community where everyone knows and depends on others. The plot is slow, but unfurls beautifully as we gradually learn the secrets and backstories of the inhabitants – revealing that life in such a place is not as idyllic as it might appear on the surface.
The writing is very poetic and lyrical with beautiful descriptions of the sea and draws on the myths of mermen showing how myth and legend can help healing.