‘The Quiet’ by Carys Davies

‘The Quiet’ opens Davies’ collection The Redemption of Gallen Pike. It’s one of those historical pieces that feels, in terms of time or place, not-quite defined, and I must say that’s right up my street. We get the point of view of Susan, a young woman recently settled in a pretty empty land with her husband, and hear of her troubles with their rough-looking neighbour, who lives six miles away. The story starts with his visit as Susan’s husband is away. It’s a dark story, full of menace, but also kindness. And wouldn’t you know, I’m also a sucker for kindness.

First published in The Stinging Fly, Spring 2012. Collected in The Redemption of Gallen Pike, Salt 2014. Read online at Lit Hub here

‘The Travellers’ by Carys Davies

Very little in modern fiction lives up to its hype. This of course says more about the hype than about the fiction. One recent collection that did was Eley WilliamsAttrib.; another was Carys Davies’ The Redemption of Galen Pike, which has very little in common with Attrib. other than an air of complete competence, an improbable sure-footedness on what ought to be uncertain ground. ‘The Travellers’ translates a suburban sitcom motif – a middle-aged couple arguing in a car – into a stark Siberia, all samovars and balalaikas and vodka-bottles and lubki prints. Anger and estrangement, love and loss, are shown stripped to their bare bones. It’s funny and extraordinary and it has a seriousness, too, that catches you off balance.

Collected in The Redemption Of Galen Pike, Salt, 2014