West (Paperback)
  • West (Paperback)
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West (Paperback)

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£9.99
Paperback 160 Pages
Published: 04/04/2019
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Waterstones Says

Quirky, poignant, violent and profoundly atmospheric, Davies’ impressive debut pits a Pennsylvania settler against assorted monsters of the imagination that may, or may not, inhabit the American West, whilst his ten year old daughter waits and worries. Told in spare, crisp prose, West is a thing of harsh beauty and wild poetry.

Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019

Waterstones Welsh Book of the Month for April 2019

'All the stark power and immediacy of a folk tale or a legend...a writer of immense talent.' - Colm Toibin

When Cy Bellman, American settler and widowed father of Bess, reads in the newspaper that huge ancient bones have been discovered in a Kentucky swamp, he leaves his small Pennsylvania farm and young daughter to find out if the rumours are true: that the giant monsters are still alive, and roam the uncharted wilderness beyond the Mississippi River.

West is the story of Bellman's journey and of Bess, waiting at home for her father to return.

Written with compassionate tenderness and magical thinking, it explores the courage of conviction, the transformative power of grief, the desire for knowledge and the pull of home, from an exceptionally talented and original British writer. It is a radiant and timeless epic-in-miniature, an eerie, electric monument to possibility.

Publisher: Granta Books
ISBN: 9781783784233
Number of pages: 160
Weight: 102 g
Dimensions: 190 x 130 x 10 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

One of the most haunting and beautifully crafted novels I have read in a long time... Davies has produced something quite wonderful - Sunday Times

One of the best books I've read this year...West [...] is so crisply and concisely written, and so warm and human in its economy, that it shames the behemoths sitting beside it on the nation's bookshop shelves. It's a book you can read in a day and that will resonate all year long in your head - Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times

Slender, stark and utterly mesmerising... The language, lyrical yet pared down, conveys complicated feelings of grief, guilt, sadness and a strange kind of wonder - Eithne Farry, Mail On Sunday

Davies's lapidary prose is a marvel - she creates worlds in a few deft pen strokes... beautifully sad - Siobhan Murphy, The Times

Carys Davies's brilliant gem of a novel glints with sadness and a sombre kind of wonder - Eithne Farry, Sunday Express

Short, incredible, violent, uplifting and empowering - how Davies manages to create such an enduring story in 150 pages is a mystery, but she nails it. Do your reading list a big favour and transport yourself to the American frontier to meet 12-and-half-year-old Bess and her father - Stylist

West is both beautifully crafted and entrances to its cleverly conceived end - Sunday Times

A real page-turner. A magnificent achievement - Roger Cox, Scotsman

West has all the stark power and immediacy of a folk-tale or a legend. It is also structured with great artistry, a beguiling sense of form and pace, and a depth in the way the characters are created, making clear that Carys Davies is a writer of immense talent - Colm Tóibín

Menace and mordant wit are the blood that runs through these veins, but there's a pulse of wonder in Carys Davies' West. She sees the world and its inhabitants both as we hope they are and as we fear that they might be. An audacious and enigmatic debut of thrilling dimensions, and a halting reminder of fiction's possibilities - Akhil Sharma

A story of determination, betrayal, folly, and reckless hope written in the grand tradition of the pioneers. You enter the familiar American frontier and shortly are convinced, with Davies' hero, that the mammoths of the Pleistocene still shyly roam the Plains. The seams between imagination and history in this extraordinary story are invisible. I believed every word - Salvatore Scibona

In a way, West reads like some extended fairy tale. But then, I've never stopped wanting to run off and find dinosaurs. Its strength lies in belief, and wonder, and the simple pure clarity of that in an incomprehensible world - Cynan Jones

West is a journey and a wonder. A story concerned with value and language, love and absence, life and death. A debut of real distinction - Bernard MacLaverty

To read Carys Davies' West is to encounter a myth, or a potent dream - a narrative at once new and timeless. Exquisite, continent, utterly vivid, this short novel will live on in your imagination long after you read the last page - Claire Messud, author, The Burning Girl and the Woman Upstairs

West proves what-in-the-know lovers of her short stories have already been trumpeting: Carys Davies is a deft, audacious visionary, a master of the form. In West, she breaks open our fascination with fated journeys and the irrepressible draw of the unknown, imbuing the American landscape with her own rare magic, twisting the heart as few others can, brilliantly navigating the tension between narrative minimalism and imaginative opulence - Tea Obrecht, author, The Tiger's Wife

Wonderful - Sarah Jessica Parker, Girlboss

A beautifully written fable on the conflict between the quixotic and the mundane - Wales Arts Review

A novel of extraordinary beauty... an accomplished tale of genuine panache...West will remain with you for some time - Paul Burke, Nudge Books

I highly, highly, highly recommend this... This is a book I was hoping would be one of my books of the year and most certainly will be - Simon Savidge, Savidge Reads

Brief and brilliant - perfect to slip into the suitcase...I hope to see it on the Man Booker shortlist this autumn - Summer Books round up, Tablet

Davies [...] has the astonishing ability to capture a life - however idiosyncratic - in the briefest of brushstrokes - Summer Reading, Evening Standard

A haunting, beautifully crafted novel - Sunday Times

A compact, elegantly written story - 100 Modern Novels to Love, Sunday Times

In Davies's slim first novel...not a word is wasted; the canvas is as wide as her brush is fine...There are many worlds to explore within this short book - Guardian

Davies spins a convincing story... The author has an acute sense of period, and a fine ear for dialogue - RTÉ

Perfectly formed . . . Beautifully crafted and immensely moving - Sunday Times

A tiny jewel of a novel, but sweeping in its power and scope, is Carys Davies's West...[an] epic tale of settlers and monsters - Julie Myerson, Observer

Highly-readable . . . This well-crafted novel, short though it is, will hold your attention to the very end - Yorkshire Gazette and Herald

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“Giant Monsters..”

A sweet idea for a story, Cy Bellman wants to explore uncharted territory in order to see the bones of the reportedly 'giant monsters'. He leaves behind his young daughter with his mother and sets out into... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 36

“Gorgeous writing, weaker plot”

West is the debut novella from an established short story writer, and it feels like a debut novella from an established short story writer. Carys Davies' writing is stunning, and I love how sparse her writing is;... More

Hardback edition
7 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 32
Sam at Waterstones Leadenhall Market

“A Small and Wonderful Marvel”

Carys Davies' debut novel is a true gem, a sweeping historical saga in microcosm. Deftly interweaving the stories of dreamy pioneer Cy Bellman's search for the bones of giant monsters in the unknown wilds of... More

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