Through the Skylight

“…Like we’d never shared in the sea’s flotsam and jetsam; the dead whales, a leather backed turtle once, big as a coffee table. The dead bodies even, now and then, stranded in sleep with water trickling lazily from silent terracotta mouths. We were seeing for the first time the ocean’s unwanted bounty. The cat-like way it brought you presents you didn’t much care for. A dividend you didn’t want but could not return…”

Along with the strange flotsam of the sea, the aptly named John Love drifts in on the grey tide to an island off the northwest English coast. The stranger, both bedazzling and unnerving, affects an immediate messianic glow upon the bladder-wracked community of odds and sods, making disciples of the most unlikely characters.

Chris Hill knows island life intimately as a native of Walney Island just off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, at the northern tip of…

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