I’d forgotten about the Spell the Month in Books linkup until I spotted Lisa’s post for April. The idea is to spell the current month with the first letter of book titles, excluding articles such as ‘the’ and ‘a’ as needed. Reviews From the Stacks hosts the link up on the first Saturday of each month, so I’m a little behind. Never mind, we are still in April.
This month the theme is “Anything Goes” so I’m choosing to feature novels by Welsh authors that I’ve read in the last few years. I suspect most of these authors will be new names for many of you.
All links will take you to my reviews.
Advent by Jane Fraser
Set in rural Wales in 1904, Advent shows the conflict between a woman’s desire for an independent life and her sense of duty and loyalty to her family.
Pigeon by Alys Conran
Winner of the Wales Book of the Year Award in 2017, Pigeon is a tale of friendship between two children from broken homes, a bond that is fractured when one of their pranks goes horribly wrong. Alys Contran was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize for her debut novel.
The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies
This is one of the very rare occasions when I enjoyed a collection of short stories. In the 17 stories that make up The Redemption of Galen Pike, Carys Davies takes readers from the wilds of Siberia to a remote farm in the Australian outback and a to a prison in a small Oklahoma community. They show individuals who yearn to connect with other people, whether they are prisoners or neighbours. I’ve since gone on to read two further books by Carys Davies, both of which were excellent: West and The Mission House.
In Two Minds by Alis Hawkins
In Two Minds is the second title in the Teifi Valley Coroner series — a historical crime series set in the rural communities of the Teifi Valley in West Wales. The principal character is Harry Lloyd Probert, the squire’s son, who active involvement in crime investigation defies convention — he’s meant to be learning how to manage the family estate, not tramping around the country asking questions.
The joy of this novel, and the first book None So Blind, is their historical context. The traditions and attitudes of life in nineteenth century West Wales really come alive in the narratives.
The Long Dry by Cynan Jones
The title of Cynan Jones’ superb novella has a dual meaning. On one level it refers to the long, hot and arid summer day which form the background to the story. But it is also a commentary on the state of the relationship between the two main characters: the farmer and his wife. Their marriage is crumbling, their encounters marked now by suppressed anger and frustration. They love each other but can’t find a way out of the silences that have become habitual. My review can be found here.