“Closer By Sea” is a literary debut that will remain in my memory for some time. It was a coming-of-age story set on an island off the coast of Newfoundland during one pivotal, unforgettable summer when our protagonist, Pierce, was twelve years old.The story evokes an emotional response in the reader. It is a novel about change, loss, friendship, and growing up. It also vividly describes island culture and the harsh and often severe way of life of its residents. The action takes place in the year 1991, just one year before the Canadian government imposed a moratorium on the Northern cod fishery along the country’s east coast. This moratorium drastically impacted the lives of Newfoundlanders and changed their social and cultural identity. For generations these men and women depended largely on the cod fishery to make a living.
When Pierce Jacobs was just nine years of age, his father was lost at sea. With no siblings, it was now just Pierce and his mother left to support themselves and grieve a much loved husband and father.
“She had that tone in her voice, the one that went straight to my heart and made it bleed invisibly, the one she only used when she was extremely disappointed in me.”
Three years after his father’s death, during the summer of 1991, Pierce and his friends experience many adventures. Anna, a girl who was a friend to Pierce when he most needed one, has gone missing. The boys suspect foul play by Solomon Vickers, a man who lives on the other side of the island.
“Mind your tongue. It can be as sharp as any blade and can cut even deeper.”
It is also a summer when Pierce has his first girlfriend. This tests his friendship with his childhood friends and changes his views on many things.
This is much more than a coming-of-age novel. It has many suspenseful moments with a mystery at its heart. The writing was skilled and evocative of the place and the people. It is an awesome debut novel that I can highly recommend.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss.
ISBN: 9781982185251 – ASIN: B0BHTPZNS6 – 272 pages
Perry Chafe is a Canadian television writer, showrunner, producer, and songwriter. He is a co-founder and partner in Take the Shot Productions. Perry was the co-creator, show-runner, and head writer for the TV series Republic of Doyle, which ran for six seasons on the CBC, and an executive producer and writer for the Netflix/Discovery series Frontier, starring Jason Momoa. In addition, he was an executive producer and writer for Caught, a CBC limited series based on Lisa Moore’s award-winning novel of the same name.
Born and raised in the small fishing community of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, he now lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland. “Closer By Sea” is his debut novel.
Connect with Perry Chafe via his Website, Twitter and/or Instagram.