AS MEAT LOVES SALT by MARIA McCANN.
In the seventeenth century, the English Revolution is under way. The nation, seething with religious and political discontent, has erupted into violence and terror. Jacob Cullen and his fellow soldiers dream of rebuilding their lives when the fighting is over. But the shattering events of war will overtake them.
A darkly erotic tale of passion and obsession, As Meat Loves Salt is a gripping portrait of England beset by war. It is also a moving portrait of a man on the brink of madness. Hailed as a masterpiece, this is a first novel by a most original new voice in fiction.
...... GoodReads. (Sorry, there was no product information within the book, only endorsements from various newspapers and magazines)
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): On the morning we dragged the pond for Patience White, I bent so far down trying to see beneath the surface that my own face peered up at me, twisted and frowning.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 60): The Master and Mistress now stepped up to kiss her also, followed by Godfrey, my brothers and Peter's sisters, and then the folk nearest to us rose up to follow suit, so that she was mobbed on all sides as every person there present sought to give and receive good fortune.
MY THOUGHTS: All in all a difficult read for me as I found some aspects of the story deeply harrowing, the main characters, though without a doubt very believable, far from likable individuals.
At over 500 pages this was a bit of a daunting read that could have been much shorter if it weren't for the fact that the author tended to belabour certain events. The battle scenes in particular being overly drawn-out, I could quite understand readers being tempted to skip through lots of this narrative - I know I was.
I also struggled with other aspects of the narrative finding it extremely difficult to follow in places as at times the author used words and phrases no longer in common usage which occasionally left me puzzled as to exactly what was meant. Authentic to the period perhaps but it did make for difficult reading and even more so given that the usage was not consistent, the author tending to swing between the modern and that of the 17th century.
Not all bad though.
Hoping that I'm not giving too much away here, I applaud the fact that the author decided to feature a romance between two male characters as opposed to the usual male female one but why anyone would want to include so many sex scenes is beyond me. Oh, on the whole, there was nothing to graphic, nothing to explicit its just that after a while I began to think that yes I got it, these two men were having a physical, if not always loving, relationship.
Their physical relationship aside I did find the relationship between
main characters, Jacob (Cullen) and (Christopher) Ferris interesting. Their passion for each other at times very tender and yet at the same time very destructive. The contrast between the somewhat surly, schizophrenic/psychopathic (?) Jacob who seemed hell-bent on destroying everything positive in his life and the rather idealistic but still unlikable Ferris makes for quite fascinating reading.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: A reading group read, I shan't be buying a copy of this.