A Town By The Sea by Chris Paling
When I awoke the tongue of the tide was lapping at my feet and the sea had claimed my belongings. The sand on which I lay was so stiff there was no trace of my footprints across it. An observer viewing me from above might have imagined I had been washed upon the shore from a shipwreck. Another would perhaps have construed that I had been cast away by choice. If I had encountered my inert body I would have made the former assumption although the latter is much closer to the truth...' With these words, the narrator of A Town by the Sea sets off towards a coastal town which lies some distance to the east of him. But he also embarks on a journey into his past. Along the way he encounters ghosts, he climbs a tall tower and is marooned in the clouds, he meets a ruffian and a dandy, he is attacked and tied to a cart, and, in the garden of a derelict house, he glimpses a scene from his childhood. Slowly, the mystery of how he arrived on the shoreline is solved, but is this the end of his journey, or just another stop along the way?