The acclaimed first novel by one of Flamingo's most gifted young writers, author of 'The Bronski House' and 'The Spirit Wrestlers'.
Philip Marsden's brilliant first novel is set in the 1930s, in the small Cornish fishing village of Polmayne. A newcomer to the village, Jack Sweeney, buys a boat and establishes himself as a fisherman, gradually winning the respect even of the village elders. But times are changing, and a new kind of visitor is beginning to appear in Polmayne. A bohemian colony of artists offends some sensibilities, while a hotel is opened to accommodate the summer tourists, and pleasure steamers mingle with the fishing boats in the harbour.
Yet, despite the superficial changes, the old ways and the old hazards of Cornish life endure. Offshore, just below the surface of the waves, lie the Main Cages, a treacherous outcrop of rock where many ships and many lives have been lost.
Firmly rooted in a particular place and time, yet recalling in its universality such books as Graham Swift's 'Waterland' and E. Annie Proulx's 'The Shipping News', 'The Main Cages' is a gripping story of love and death, and a remarkable fictional debut.
Philip Marsden has written several highly-praised and award-winning travel books - including 'The Crossing Place: A Journey among the Armenians', 'The Bronski House', 'The Spirit-Wrestlers' and 'Chains of Heaven: An Ethiopian Romance' - and one novel, 'The Main Cages'. He lives in Cornwall.
'The Main Cages' is quite simply a joy to read. It is at once a memorable adventure, a moving love story, and an intriguing portrait of a changing way of life - and on every level, it succeeds magnificently.' Mail on Sunday
'Marsden brilliantly evokes the everyday life of a Cornish village.a gripping yarn.' Evening Standard
'Philip Marsden's luminous first novel is an elemental tale of man and nature and the profoundly skewed relationship in which they are locked.Underpinning all this is Marsden's lean, exact and beautiful prose. Even the details of the nautical world acquire a poetry. Like a seashell it contains the various music of the sea within it.' TLS
'Like a latter-day Dylan Thomas peeping through the windows in 'Under Milk Wood', Marsden charts the changes and observes the constants of [Polmayne's] communal life.' Sunday Times
'The world of Polmayne is so sharply observed that its [characters] stay etched in the mind like old photographs.' Independent