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Bibliographical Information
Some New Ambush
Carys Davies
ISBN: 9781844713417 (1844713415)Publication Date March 2008
Publisher: Salt Publishing, Cambridge
Format: Paperback, 203x128 mm, 120 pages Language: English Non-Stock Item - Ordered on request Our Price: £8.99   
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Some New Ambush is the first collection of short stories from award-winning writer Carys Davies. Love, loss, birth, death, betrayal, madness, they all lie in wait for Davies's characters in their startlingly different worlds: a dry cleaner's shop in contemporary Chicago, a mining town in south Wales in the sixties, a lunatic asylum in nineteenth-century northern England.

Dyma'r casgliad cyntaf o straeon byrion gan yr awdures boblogaidd Carys Davies. Daw'r cymeriadau ar draws pob math o brofiadau - cariad, colled, genedigaeth, marwolaeth, brad a gwallgofrwydd. Lleolir y straeon mewn gwahanol leoliadau, gan gynnwys siop lanhau dillad yn Chicago, tref lofaol yn ne Cymru yn yr 1960au, a seilam yng ngogledd Lloegr yn y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg.
This is a superb collection. We know that anyone who has a short story collection published in the current literary climate, unless they are already a famous name, must be very good. But even by those standards, Carys Davies’s collection is something really special.

There is a tremendous variety in the fifteen stories, in their setting and tone. They move from modern California to a meeting with Dickens to fantasy. There is humour – I loved the story of the Latin teacher about to lose her job, written with all the precision of a Latin teacher: ‘My name is Patricia Singleton and I am the Latin teacher. By tomorrow, I will have been the Latin teacher. After that, it will be a case of I was the Latin teacher . . . Ego sum. Ego fuero. Ego eram.’ There is tragedy, both individual, as in ‘Gingerbread Boy’, about an abducted child, and on a larger scale with ‘Pied Piper’, a shocking and haunting take on the disaster of Aberfan. But it seems wrong to pick out particular stories when all of them are so good; all written with a deeply satisfying combination of original ideas, great feeling for the characters and a strikingly fresh use of language.

‘Ambush’ is the perfect title for this collection as all the stories contain surprises that honestly surprise, that either make you laugh or gasp. She manages that rare thing in short stories of being unsettling without crossing the line into pretension. I wouldn’t have read this collection if it hadn’t been selected for the 2008 Welsh Book of the Year and I’m so glad I did. I recommend this book and look forward to seeing what Carys Davies writes next.

Janet Thomas

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 ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
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