‘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