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Review of Meet Me at the Surface by Jodie Matthews: Exploring Strong Energies in the Untamed Landscape of Cornwall.

Review of Meet Me at the Surface by Jodie Matthews: Exploring Strong Energies in the Untamed Landscape of Cornwall.


Meet Me at the Surface, the captivating first book by Jodie Matthews, a Manchester native originally from Cornwall, delves deep into the unknown. Influenced heavily by her birthplace and its folklore, the author immerses us in a world of secrets and supernatural occurrences. Throughout the story, characters – some human, others possibly not – emerge then disappear, their motives constantly just out of our grasp. The mysterious Pedri hovers above all else, a cryptic term in a notebook that could hold multiple meanings, none of them positive. At the heart of it all is Dozmary Pool, Bodmin’s murky and enigmatic lake.

Merryn is our guiding presence, returning to the untamed lands of Bodmin Moor for the memorial of her former girlfriend Claud. However, she discovers a fearful and superstitious community, with her aunt resorting to unconventional methods such as using spoiled eels and lard to seal their farmhouse windows. The reason for these precautions remains unclear, as the villagers embark on mysterious nighttime hunts. Merryn uncovers a notebook beneath a chest of drawers, filled with ancient legends that somehow connect to Claud, and the date of the memorial service changes constantly.

The events in Meet Me at the Surface are not what they seem and it shares similarities with Evie Wyld’s novel All the Birds, Singing. However, the author’s unique writing style sets it apart as a debut book. The story revolves around deals and debts, with a supernatural presence that lingers like a ghostly light over the plot, pulling us deeper into the story. As we are transported to a strange and otherworldly place that has a mix of modern and ancient elements, we feel just as unsettled as the protagonist, Merryn.

Without any apologies, this tale of sorrow, affection and psychological disorder unfolds gradually, embracing both definitions of the term “queer”. The speed at which it progresses could potentially lead to failure in less capable writers, but Matthews displays a remarkable confidence in her writing. She effortlessly jumps between past and present, utilizing language with force and harshness, yet with a delicate touch that is alluringly misleading. It’s difficult to fathom that this is the debut novel of the author.

Source: theguardian.com