REVIEW by Willard Manus
the Welsh writer whose novel THE DIG was reviewed in Lively Arts last
November, has returned with EVERYTHING I FOUND ON THE BEACH, a savage
tale about three men struggling for survival in a dark, violent, mechanistic
The three men could not be more different: one is a neurotic, vengeful
Irish mobster; the second an impoverished Polish immigrant; the third
(Hold), a likable Welsh farmhand. The latter earns extra money by hunting
and fishing. One night, while hauling in his nets, he spots someone in
an inflatable boat who appears to be raiding his nets. Driven by a primal
rage, he wades into the sea, grabs hold of the rubber boat and does battle
with the thief.
The battle, which is brief and bloody, is won by Hold who then drags the
boat to shore and discovers that his antagonist (the Pole)is dead. Not
only that, the boat is packed with drugs, not fish. Hold knows he should
go to the police, but the old mechanisms of surviving his father
were already kicking in. He then makes the all too human mistake
of trying to peddle the drugs and score some desperately needed cash.
him to The Scouser, the big-time Irish drug-dealer who had employed the
impoverished Pole as a mule. The Scouser offers to buy back the cocaine;
Hold knows hes asking for trouble by getting involved with this
hoodlum but decides he has the wherewithal and courage to outwit him.
Sadly, he pays the ultimate price for this self-deception.
I wanted to use the thriller genre and all that comes with it as
the framework for a story about choices, the author said in a press
note. Although EVERYTHING I FOUND ON THE BEACH has much to commend it,
especially its use of language, the book does not have the remarkable
power, daring and originality of THE DIG.