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PUBLICATION DATE: August 10, 2023
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By (author) J.M. Rampen; Foreword by Hsiao-Hung Pai
A tender and poignant debut of the redemptive power of unexpected friendship.
In an old-fashioned fishing community on Morecambe Bay, change is imperceptibly slow. Treacherous tides sweep the quicksands, claiming everything in their path.
As a boy, Arthur had followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footprints, learning to read the currents and shifting sands. Now retired and widowed, though, he feels invisible, redundant. His daughter wants him in a retirement home. No one listens to his rants about the newcomers striking out nightly onto the bay for cockles, seemingly oblivious to the danger.
When Arthur’s path crosses Suling’s, both are running out of options. Barely yet an adult, Suling’s hopes for a better life have given way to fear: she’s without papers or money, speaks no English, and chased by ruthless debt collectors. Her only next step is to trust the old man.Combining warmth and suspense and recalling a true incident, The Bay tells a tender story about loneliness, confronting prejudice, and the comfort of friendship, however unlikely – as well as exposing one of the most pressing social ills of our age.
Reviews of The Bay
'A beautifully crafted and utterly absorbing story about the ever-present and ever-hopeful possibilities for human connection.' — Janine Bradbury, University of York 'A study of empathy and compassion, in lyrical prose. It examines human connections and asks how we should care for others, and be cared for ourselves ? immersive and thought-provoking. There is a luminous, shimmering sense of place.' — Catherine Simpson, author of One Body 'An evocative, weather-lashed story of an unlikely duo, raising urgent questions about how we treat those who cross borders. Heart-wrenching and hopeful in equal measure.' — The Bath Novel Award 'A truly remarkable book, with lightning characterisation and such extraordinary compassion. I loved every page.' — Kate Simants, author of A Ruined Girl 'Careful and compassionate ? subtle, human and meaningful, but also full of humour, and precise and beautiful description.'? — Emma Healey, author of Elizabeth Is Missing
J.M. Rampen is a Scottish-Canadian journalist and writer with a long track record of working with refugees and undocumented migrants. She is Media Director of IMIX, a charity helping immigrants tell their stories, and has worked for The Toronto Globe & Mail, The New Statesman, and the Liverpool Echo, as well as contributing to the Guardian, BBC Radio, and Sky News. The Bay was written in consultation with those who investigated the Morecambe Bay tragedy at the time (2004) and told the survivors’ stories, and Julia?s grandparents lived on Morecambe Bay.Hsiao-Hung Pai has written for The Guardian, Open Democracy, Feminist Review, Red Pepper, Socialist Review, Chinese Times UK, Chinese Weekly, The Storm, and many Chinese-language publications worldwide. She covered the cockle-picking tragedy for The Guardian in 2004.