Item description for Urban Welsh: New Short Fiction by Lewis...
A collection of short stories by Welsh writers set in Wales Succeeds in showcasing the undeniable talent and imagination of its Welsh contributors, offering readers a refreshing perspective on the short story."" Booklist
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.35" Width: 5.35" Height: 0.94" Weight: 0.88 lbs.
Release Date Aug 9, 2005
Publisher Parthian Books
ISBN 1902638425 ISBN13 9781902638423
Availability 0 units.
More About Lewis
About the Authors Morris Lewis, MCT, MCSE, and MCSD, has helped thousands of students earn MCSE certification and has masterminded a number of Windows client network deployments across the nation. Morris has also authored over 500 test questions covering the Windows operating system. Mark B. Cooper, MCSE, CBE, Compaq ASE, Sun CSSA, and CNP, is a consulting engineer specializing in enterprise networking solutions. He is also director of publishing for the Enterprise Networking Association' s Enterprise Networking magazine. Technically reviewed by Jason Nash, MCSE and MCT
Curiously, the three stories highlighted in the Booklist blurb were not my favorites. Contrary to what you may assume, few of the stories take on Welsh identity specifically. Many have a Welsh phrase, a first name, surnames, place names to mark their territorial setting, but the authors appear for the most part to delve more into their characters than their culture for most of their narratives. What this indicates about any reportedly Welsh style as being different from other writers in English is up to readers to decide, as no indications are made by the editor at all!
"Urban Wales"' stories are arranged by roughly three themes: culturally diverse; social critique; personal relationships. Of the 19 youngish and/or up-and-coming Welsh writers featured in this anthology--which has by the way no preface, manifesto, or introduction--I found around half the stories more or less satisfying. Another couple--like the Bin Ladin in My Underwear exercise--had their moments but went on too long (the Bin Ladin one takes up about 10% of the total space, and drags on endlessly) or were too unevenly paced. So, my recommendations, in order of appearance in this collection:
1) Huw Lawrence: "Changes." This was the 9th one, and since I was about to give up after the so-so quality of the first 8, I was happy to find--nearly halfway through the book--a decently plotted character study, not showy or satirical or too multi-cultural so as to minimize the author's storytelling skills. Just a relationship gone bad.
2) Niall Griffiths "Fresher's Week." The reason I picked up this book, as I am a fan of his novels. I'd never before read a shorter piece of his. He is maturing, as is the protagonist here, away from the rave culture bard of the 90s into a more nuanced observer of human frailty, foibles, and courage. By far the best story here, and I'd say that even if all were "blind" submissions.
3) lloyd robson. "chupa mi pena, baby." I won't translate the Spanish (!) I wanted to hate this story based on its attention-seeking style; from the author's bio bit it seems all of his work and of course his name eschews Capitol fonts. It's about some sort of trannie/queen's stint one night of too many entertaining a nightclub crowd. Robson appears to have lost any Caps Lock function on his keyboard. Another e.e. cummings, perhaps, but the lowercase ubiquity does make the stream-of-consciousness tale flow well. Not the most surprising of tales, and not much plot, but again an intriguing peek inside a figure too often only depicted from "outside" by the straight world and caricatured. Robson sees her/him in a more sustained, and nuanced, fashion--in more ways than one for that word.
4) Cynan Jones "The Babysitter." By far the simplest and shortest, this very direct story parallels a babysitter's awareness of her budding sexuality against the Red Riding Hood tale she tells the young girl she is lulling to sleep. Its straightforward presentation strips the story down neatly to its essence. The best stories here often do this (not Robson!)
5) Geoff Dunn "Only on a Sunday Morning." Another story of sexual awareness from the opposite end of the telescope looking back as an old man, missing his deceased wife, thinks back upon their relationship, and contrasts it with his hospice stay. More technically self-conscious and modernist in its fragmented narration, but these formal rearrangements do not detract from the emotional core of the old man's loneliness and longing.
The next 5, ok but not on the level of the first 5, by order of merit! 1) Jo Mazelis, "And You Read Your Emily Dickinson": trying to amend past wrongs by present rights. 2) Geoff Dunn "Broken Arrow." The end almost rescues the rest of this adolescent rage study. 3) Isobel Adonis, "Drawing Apart." Feels more like a creative writing submission, but potential exists in this tale of two misfit would-be writers seeking recognition of sorts. A bit too neatly tied-and-arranged, and the protagonist's naivete's puzzling, maybe even to the character herself! 4) Tom Fourgs "Bin Ladin...etc." Too obviously Beat/Beckettian/Burroughsian for me, but he can create a mood. But far too loose-limbed a creation. 5) Jon Gower "TV Land." I did not like this one much for similar reasons as Fourgs, but the satirical takes on unctuous TV hosts before a live audience who hear his routines more explicitly than the will air in censored form does entertain. The framework's weak, however, and nothing that wasn't tried circa 1966 by some then trendy countercultural scribbler.
The rest of the stories are not my style. But I list them dutifully as they appear, so you can find your favorites from this collection. "Fresh Apples", Rachel Trezise; "Uncle Mehdi's Carpet Deal," Rhian Saadat; "The Last Jumpshot," Leonora Brito; "Agoraphobia," Sian Preece; "The Fare," Lewis Davies; "Playing the Odds," Alexandra Claire; "Twelve Beer Blues" (have to admit: great title!), Tristan Hughes; "Messages," Glenda Beagan; "I Learned When I Was Older," Miranda Evans.