Nancy and I are so excited that Cath Barton and her husband Oliver will be joining us at Palazzo Forani in Casperia for our Springtime in Italy retreat in May! Cath’s novella, The Plankton Collector, won the New Welsh Writing Award 2017: Novella Category. Congratulations, Cath!
I found Cath’s writing in this compelling and mysterious novella so rich and evocative. Here is an excerpt:
“No-one knows his name, or rather they know him by different names, depending on when and where they meet him. All he asks is to to be acknowledged and listened to but, like the plankton, he is a wanderer – though on land rather than in water – and is never in one place for long. He passes un- remarked in the crowd. He is the man at the next table in the café. The one drinking his morning coffee like any other. The one reading the newspaper. Or the one simply sitting and staring.”
Here is a description from the publisher, New Welsh Rarebyte:
“In this atmospheric novella, the mysterious Plankton Collector visits members of a family torn apart by grief and regret. he comes in different guises. For ten year-old Mary, he is Mr Smith who takes her on a train journey to the seaside. Her mother, Rose, meets him as Stephen, by her son’s graveside. Rose’s youngest, Bunny, encounters him as the gardener. For husband and father David, meanwhile, the meeting is with a love from his youth. And long-lost Uncle Barnaby takes the children for a week’s holiday during which their parents begin a reconciliation. All visitors are manifestations of the Plankton Collector who teaches those he encounters the difference between the discarded weight of unhappy memories and the lightness borne by happiness recalled.”
This debut has already received high praise:
‘Painterly… lush dreamy prose creates a vivid landscape, while its lyricism transports the reader. Cleverly creates a universe of new realities.’ Cathryn Summerhayes
‘A beautifully controlled mix of magical realism and nature writing about time, healing, trauma and the fluid, unreliable nature of memory.’ David Lloyd, co-judge of the New Welsh Writing Awards 2017
Cath’s novella is available for order HERE.
Check back for Nancy’s fascinating interview with Cath on Monday!