|ISBN: 9780955527203 (0955527201)Publication Date July 2007|
Publisher: Alcemi, Tal-y-bontEdited by Gwen Davies
Format: Paperback, 215x140 mm, 215 pages
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A literary thriller set between North Wales, Goa and a Chester hospital. When Elly discovers a ring, bones still attached, washed up on a beach, the mystery focuses on the lives of a group of thirty-somethings, with characters taking turn to narrate the story from different perspectives.
Stori ddirgelwch wedi ei lleoli yng ngogledd Cymru, Goa ac mewn ysbyty yng Nghaer, sy'n canolbwyntio ar fywydau grŵp o bobl yn eu tridegau. Elly yw'r prif-adroddwr, ond adroddir y stori hefyd gan adroddwyr gwahanol ac o safbwyntiau gwahanol.
Gee Williams is a prize-winning short story writer and has had many plays and short fiction pieces broadcast on BBC radio. I had, shamefully, never heard of her, but if this riveting debut novel achieves the success it undoubtedly deserves, and if there is more of this calibre to come, then her name is about to become very well-known.
Martin and Elly, who have fled Goa in disgrace following an unspecified crime and are now living as dependents on Martinís mother, go to spend a week at a friendís holiday home in Wales. While walking on the beach one day, they make a remarkable find that could solve their financial problems: a magnificent diamond ring. The ring, however, is still attached to the finger that wore it though only the finger. Meanwhile, friend Richard, who owns the holiday home, is having yet another illicit affair with an unknown woman. Richard is married to Pippa. Richard, Martin and Elly have known each other for many years. Pippa is the outsider. Elly appears to loathe Richard and have no particular liking for Pippa. Martin and Richard fall out with each other.
It might sound like a run-of-the-mill murder mystery with all the compulsory twists but this is a novel that defies genre and crosses boundaries to extraordinary effect. Here is an author utterly in control of her material and manipulating it with outstanding dexterity. The apparent trajectory of the plot shifts and changes, the narrative voice switches from one character to another, in a mellifluous process that draws the reader, fascinated, ever deeper into plot and personality. Williams is clearly working with a wealth of material and ideas, yet there is nothing superfluous, nothing that is merely clever.
This is a thoroughly satisfying read that leaves many questions pleasingly unanswered. You turn the last page, looking for more; when it isnít there, you understand precisely why.
Suzy Ceulan Hughes
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiat‚d Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Gee Williams is a poet and the prize-winning author of two short story collections. Numerous full length plays and short fiction pieces of hers have been broadcast on BBC radio. This is her first novel.
A short break in a shoreline cottage is an ideal place to struggle with your demons. For Elly and Martin it is the chance to forget their hasty exit from Paradise following classroom scandal. But she makes a life-changing find on the tideline - a diamond dress-ring with finger bones still attached.
Scroll back a few months and at Martinís place of work - a Chester hospital - we meet new nurse Hayley. Young, gorgeous; she is a player, and totally turned off by the ward surgeon, Richard Congreve. Until, that is, she catches a whiff of something expensive in his Jag and is ensnared by a gift so desirable it may prove fatal. As we question who the ring and its finger really belong to, the cottage collects the secrets of those who have stayed there. Why has Elly such power over them all?
Ranging between Wales, the north of England and Goa, this is a novel about possession, betrayal - and how much we can afford to lose.
A controlled and gifted stylist, Williams is inventive and inspiring in her craft. Salvage masquerades as a murder mystery while exploring the less sunlit aspects of the Welsh shoreline and of the human soul. Dominant and daring in her prose, Williams relishes the act of writing and constructs five distinct characters with genres particular to each, including a wonderful Cosmo send-up for the gorgeous gold-digging nurse as well as a provocative intervention of the author herself. Salvage constantly shifts the literary goalposts from crime to romance to a metafictional crisis while never losing the immediacy of the characters or the suspense of the crime.
Prof Colin Nicholson, JTB Prize Judge
If Gee Williams was a more celebrated author she could win [the JTB] competition. Brilliant.
Riveting... a novel that defies genre and crosses boundaries to extraordinary effect... an author utterly in control of her material... nothing superfluous... nothing merely clever.
Williamsí writing is off-beat, subtle, haunting, fresh.
Williams feeds us little entrails to keep the haunting pages turning, only to find, at each change of narrator, that we chose the wrong starter for the main course...Williamsí prose passages ebb and flow with a sparkling beauty, each containing tideline treasures of their own that remain deposited in your mind long after youíve put the book down... Salvage is a gripping, unpredictable read that endears each of its colourful characters to us, flaws and all.
Salvage is imbued with a haunting sense of credibility that can do nothing but satisfy. With descriptive prose that enriches each page and paragraph... a fine writer.
Chris High, Tangled Web crime website
Power-sprayed with literary devices, Salvage is ultimately effective, conveying one inescapable message: never trust anybody in Cheshire.
Phil Rickman, Radio Wales
"A fine piece of fiction."
www.sarasotawelsh.com (Gulf Coast St David's Welsh Society)
"I found myself completely caught up in the lives of the characters."
James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, Nominee, 2007.
Waverton Good Read Longlist, 2007-08.
Pure Gold winner, English category, Estyn Allan, north Wales libraries, 07-08
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