Paperback: Salt, by Jeremy Page

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The Independent Culture

Like Graham Swift and PD James before him, debut novelist Jeremy Page has fallen under the spell of Norfolk's flat fens and big skies. Salt opens on Morston Marsh near Blakeney, during the Second World War, where when a local woman, "Goose", discovers a German pilot buried up to the neck in mud. She takes him in, washes him and feeds him up on pickled samphire and hollandaise sauce. Nine months later she gives birth to a baby girl. While this mystic family saga is at times hard to fathom – especially in early chapters – Page's descriptions of this bleak East Anglian coast get under the skin.