‘The Weight of the Ocean’ is a bittersweet tale of love and loss with a mystical element running through its blood. The story concerns a man who has a close relationship with the mysterious ‘Jess’, an elusive, ethereal figure who flits in and out of the man’s life and enchants him until she is all he can think about.
This is the debut story from Paul M. Feeney, and it’s a fine effort with the emotional depth lacking from a lot of first-time writers’ work. I could almost feel the hole in the protagonist’s heart when events took a turn for the worse. It’s a beautifully written tale about one man’s love for a woman who may or may not be something more fantastical than she lets on. And despite a few of the sentences being a little clunky, it’s admirable work from a debut writer. There is no ‘action’ or violence or overt horror in this story, if that’s what you’re looking for, but instead there is a powerful resonance and a calibre of storytelling that carries the reader along. Kudos to Paul for a finely-crafted story.
There are a few minor issues with the story, with a middle part that drags a little and an ending that may be a bit too ambiguous for some, but overall it’s a piece of fiction that stirs the emotions and pulls at your heart with one slippery hand. It’s not your typical ‘love story’, and I’m reluctant to even call it that, because at its dark little heart it’s more than a simple love story where everyone lives happily ever after and all loose ends are resolved. Thankfully I can’t imagine Channing Tatum and Katherine Heigl starring in the movie version…
I’ve read quite a bit of Paul’s unpublished work, and if he can produce fiction of this standard and improve along the way as he becomes a more experienced writer, he’ll have a bright future.
So, in the end, there is no blood, no violence or brain-bending terror – but there is a cracking little story with a dark soul that equals the work of better-known writers.
A solid start for a debut. I look forward to more of his work.
Reviewed by Rich Hawkins
Casual conversations, playful moments, two friends bonding over things that mean nothing, until one day they mean everything...
Paul has a love for the ocean, but has never had the will to learn to swim. Jess draws him to the water, helping him overcome his fear. In the rocky brine, Paul finds more than courage; he finds love in its truest form: Jess. But the scars she carries hidden deep within won't allow her to love. After a beautiful but short lived courtship, she ends their relationship.
The Weight of the Ocean, much like the pain she hides, is simply too much to bear.
I'm Rich Hawkins, horror writer and loveable rascal. I was born in the wilds of Somerset, England. I've loved horror since I was a kid, when I first saw John Carpenter's 'THE THING' and was immediately hooked. I've since moved to Salisbury, where I live with my wife and my pet dog. My first novel 'THE LAST PLAGUE' is due for release in summer 2014. My literary influences are HP Lovecraft, Conrad Williams, Stephen King, Tim Curran, David Moody, Gary McMahon, Wayne Simmons, Adam Nevill, and Laird Barron. I know that's a lot of influences, but I need something to read while I wait for Cthulhu to rise up and enslave us all.