Well. Damn. Not really sure how to describe this book, or even completely sure what it was trying to tell me. At first, it seems like a simple tale. Timothy is a man coming into a small coastal village in Britain, a place he visited with his girlfriend. He's purchased a house that's been vacant for 10 years and is trying to convince Lauren, now his wife, to move there with him. The house is in terrible shape, and the villagers are not exactly welcoming. So you've got that whole urban/rural divide going on.
But as the story goes on, it's clear there's a lot more at play here. Timothy becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to the house's previous owner, Perran. And the villagers, mostly fishermen, become obsessed with Timothy and why he's there. Add to this the fact that the ocean waters near the village are heavily polluted, with almost no fish to be found, and there is an ominous line of enormous ships creating a barrier that won't allow the fishermen out into the greater ocean. When there are fish being caught, they are in terrible condition, and a mysterious lady in grey purchases them and takes them away to places unknown. The one thing she demands of the fishermen is that they give her every single fish they catch; they're not allowed to keep even one of the oddities. There's a sense of otherwordly forces at work here too, although it's never really overt--nearly everything that happens can be viewed both as real-world and as supernatural.
Many reviews I've read point to this as predicting the Brexit vote, and I'm sure I missed some of the underlying political points. What I can say is that this is an unsettling book on many levels, and while it's slow to get going, the tension is always building, and I was never tempted to put it down and walk away. Even though it's a distressing read in a week that's been beyond distressing.