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Bibliographical Information
Graham Mort
ISBN: 9781854115126 (185411512X)Publication Date March 2010
Publisher: Seren, Bridgend
Format: Paperback, 199x135 mm, 288 pages Language: English Out of Stock - Ordered on request Our Price: £7.99 
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Twenty-one short stories dating from 1980 to the present, including Graham Mort's 2007 Bridport Prizewinner, 'The Prince'.

Un-ar-hugain o straeon byrion a ysgrifennwyd oddi ar 1980, yn cynnwys y stori 'The Prince' a enillodd i'r awdur wobr Graham Mort 2007.
Although Graham Mort is probably best known as a poet, this collection of twenty-one short stories – including the Bridport Prize-winning ‘The Prince’ – bears witness to his strengths as a fine prose writer and storyteller. Here are the themes that will be familiar to readers of his poetry, still presented in a language rich in image and sound but in a form that will hopefully bring his work to the attention of a wider readership.

‘This language has the thickened tone of loss,’ thinks Miles, the protagonist of the title story, as he listens to Ugandans singing in three-part harmony in English. The themes of loss, separation, and failure, in their many forms, spread across continents and cultures and are expressed in a diversity of narrative voices. Miles and Carol still love each other deeply after many years of marriage and child-rearing, yet they are separated not just by thousands of geographical miles but also by the inability to communicate their individual experiences and feelings. Couples of all ages and nationalities – Annik and Serge drifting in the almond scent of madness, the old man on the Costa Brava remembering his wife as a young girl, Gustave and Amelie in Nazi-occupied France – reach out to each other, miss, reach out again, touch, miss, and again. ‘And your skin will flow under me like pale cambric, like warm cream tilted from a jug or the freckled petals of foxgloves.’ The beauty and sadness and yearning of human relationships sing out in perfectly paced language heavy with the expectation of loss and death. Characters walk like pale ghosts against vivid landscapes where the moon is ‘a gibbous yellow fruit’, a buzzard ‘rears like a crucifixion’ and the colour of blackberries is as ‘rich as blood in amber’.

These bleakly beautiful stories are ‘scattered moments set down [...] in words of an ever-fragile language’. They are moments, ordinary and extraordinary, in lives that then move on, though we are left to imagine where and how.

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 ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Further Information:
From the heat of Africa to the warmth of France or the snowbound dales of northern England, this is an assured and absorbing collection.

Including the Bridport prize-winning story ‘The Prince’, Touch spans twenty years of short-story writing from author and poet Graham Mort.

From a young child adrift on an ice-filled lake to an ageing farmer facing life alone, the twenty-one stories display a deep sensitivity to both the natural world and to human relationships. In skilfully crafted prose, vivid with detail, Mort examines the strength and fragility of life and the ties that hold us within it.

I chose ‘The Prince’… because the writing is word-perfect… with the story quietly remarking on how something out of the ordinary both does and doesn't affect daily life. In particular, I was enchanted by deft descriptions of nature…
Novelist and Bridport judge Tracy Chevalier
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