The Coward's Tale (Hardback)
  • The Coward's Tale (Hardback)
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The Coward's Tale (Hardback)

(author)
£16.99
Hardback 384 Pages / Published: 07/11/2011
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The boy Laddy Merridew, sent to live with his grandmother, stumbles off the bus into a small Welsh mining community, where he begins an unlikely friendship with Ianto Passchendaele Jenkins, the town beggar-storyteller. Ianto is watchman over the legacy of the collapse many years ago of Kindly Light Pit, a disaster whose echoes reverberate down the generations of the town. Through Ianto's stories Laddy is drawn into both the town's history and the conundrums of the present. Why has woodwork teacher Icarus Evans striven most of his life to carve wooden feathers that will float on an updraft? Why is the undertaker Tutt Bevan trying to find a straight path through the town? Why does James Little, the old gas-meter emptier, dig his allotment by moonlight? And why does window cleaner Judah Jones take autumn leaves into a disused chapel? These and other men of the town, and the women who mothered them, married them and mourned them, are bound together by the echoes of the Kindly Light tragedy and by the mysterious figure of Ianto Jenkins, whose stories of loyalty and betrayal, loss and love, form an unforgettable, spellbinding tapestry. The Coward's Tale is a powerfully imagined, poetic and haunting novel, spiked with humour. It is a story of kinship and kindness, guilt and atonement, and the ways in which we carve the present out of an unforgiving past.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408821565
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 520 g
Dimensions: 216 x 135 x 31 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
My novel of the year ... an extraordinarily lyrical, moving, funny evocation of a Welsh mining town and its inhabitants ... A terrific achievement -- A.N. Wilson * Financial Times BOOK OF THE YEAR *
This first novel is a gem ... A comparison might be made with Under Milk Wood - but even though I'm a Dylan Thomas fan, for me, Gebbie's understated anatomy of a Welsh town outsoars him. It's less whimsical, and at its heart is a gritty awareness of what's happened to this former mining community in the 21st century - with the interlocking tales building up into a poignant, unforgettable picture. This is a real writer - you'll be hearing a lot more of her * Reader's Digest *
Gebbie's prose has something of the musical rhythm and cadence of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood. The lilting dialect is seductive and the poetic sweep through a town and its folk reminiscent of Jon McGregor's masterpiece, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. The poetry is unobtrusive but makes the characters live and breathe ... heartbreaking ... a hypnotic debut * Independent *
The unlikely but entirely legitimate child of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Dylan Thomas, The Coward's Tale invests everyday life with a quality at once whimsical and heroic * Charles Lambert *
Tender and gripping - a brilliantly written epic * Maggie Gee *
A rich seam of fables conjuring a community bound together by tragedy and secrets. Everyone knows something about someone but only one man knows everything about everyone. The Coward's own tale is the bravest of all * Damian Barr *
Compulsively readable. She writes with such warmth and kindness * Mari Strachan, author of The Earth Hums in B Flat *
Gebbie's voice catches Thomas's lyricism ... But it is Ianto's own history, tragically entangled with the colliery disaster which devastated the town two generations previously, that proves the most spellbinding * Guardian *
An absorbing portrait of love, grief and humanity ... Gebbie's first full-length novel is richly poetic, its landscape steeped in the Welsh landscape and the texture of the rain-washed street * Psychologies *
The Coward's Tale is a Russian doll of a book, layers within layers, histories, ghosts, superstitions and secrets. It shines a light through the material of human nature, our successes and failings, strengths and weaknesses, pride and vanity and love ... Timeless. Storytelling at its best * Salena Godden *
The tales are gripping, the language powerful and at times almost poetic ... This book is a human, thoughtful collection of a community's reaction to a tragedy which touched the lives and hearts of so many people ... The Coward's Tale is a must-read * Lifestyle *

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“A warm tale of times past!”

I found this book hard to get into at first, but then warmed to it, and really enjoyed it! Its very different, and full of tales from the past about people, their jobs, lives and how things used to be! A warming tale,... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 21

“Beautiful and Unusual”

A Welsh mining town suffers a tragic accident many years previously and this story follows the descendants of those involved, and how their lives have been impacted down the generations by the tragedy. Ianto... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 21

“A great read!”

This is not the type of book I would usually read, but I really enjoyed it. Like others, I found it took a few chapterrs to get into the story, but then I was hooked. On the surface it seems like a simple tale of life... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 19

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