Jones provides little to the reader but equivocal statements that we cling to, as if they give us something, which we know they don't. Cove is Beckettian in prose and virtue: removing as much as possible, leaving out even the necessities, and raising questions the reader struggles to grasp ... Cove is the latest and most accomplished of Jones's works. It once again proves Jones's formidable talent. The book is confusing and demanding and damning and everything and anything and nothing. Above all else, however, Cove is beautiful, all too beautiful.
In what is more an exercise in empathy than a full-throated novel, Jones (Everything I Found on the Beach, 2016) sets the reader adrift with an unnamed narrator who has just been struck by lightning while fishing in a kayak far from shore ... Jones echoes other survival narratives by keeping his narrator’s voice internal, but he creates a feeling of desperate solitude with wonderfully sparse language. Lovers of poetry and experimental prose will marvel at this impressionistic lament.
Jones’ terse lyricism, together with his repetition of resonant images and motifs, encourage the reader to fill in the gaps ... Jones strips the story down to its elemental core and much of it reads like a prose poem. His vivid descriptions allow us to feel the man’s physical discomfort and flagging spirit ... Cove is a slighter work than Jones’ previous novel, The Dig, but explores similar themes. Just as The Dig was about the rhythms of rural life, Cove is about the dangerous, unknowable rhythms of the sea. Both are about devastation — one emotional, the other physical — and both examine love, loss, memory and the will to live. Cove is a haunting meditation on trauma and human fragility.