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Sheepshagger

Griffiths, Niall

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"Sheepshagger" is the story of Ianto: the inarticulate, inbred, ignoble savage. It is also the story of Ianto the seer, the visionary who comprehends Nature with a Blakean intensity, at one with the world he lives in. The novel is both these stories, both these people, and the character that emerges is one of the great creations of contemporary fiction. Robbed of his ancestral home - a near-derelict hovel in the mountains of west Wales - Ianto pledges revenge not only on the English yuppies who have turned his grandmother's cottage into a weekenders' barbeque party but on all those who have violated him and the land that is his. This latest act of colonial oppression and desecration triggers his lurid and strange imagination into unspeakable savagery - embodying our most primal fears of physical threat, a world beyond our control.

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Written in rough, tough and fiercely native prose, Sheepshagger is a coming-of-age ensemble novel about a bunch of promiscuous, disenchanted, druggy Welsh youngsters, growing up in a world from which they feel disconnected, surrounded by a beautiful countryside they struggle to understand. In the middle and somehow pivotal to this motley Celtic crew is Ianto: a genetically unfortunate ne'er-do-well who yet possesses the spiritual centredness the others lack. It is Ianto who relates to the rurality around them: "the lightning blasted blackthorn", the "same soil his forefathers dug in". As a result of the strange, totemic figure he cuts, Ianto manages to hang with the others and become something of a mascot to them, even though they tease him mercilessly about his virginity. The dialogue is vivid and believable, in an expletive-rich Irvine Welsh way. The intervening descriptions are spare and impressive, although they sometimes strain too hard towards lyricism: "he is like something dredged from the harbour long sodden in silt and brine, a being discarnate of mud and stagnant water". The book culminates in a rural cop-chase; however the true poetic essence of the book is its very contemporary take on Welshness. Griffiths' second novel is a modern-day elegy to the put-upon man-of-the-woods, the long-oppressed Celt, the deracinated Taff, the Sheepshagger. -- Sean Thomas

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Praise for "Grits" "An astonishing feat -- a work which both challenges and re-affirms the power of the novel." -- Irvine Welsh"Persuasive, alarming and addictive." -- Francis Gilbert, "The Times"

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Griffiths, Niall Author
Published by Thomas Dunne Books (2002)
ISBN 10: 0312300735 ISBN 13: 9780312300739
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Book Description Thomas Dunne Books, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1st. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0312300735

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Griffiths, Niall Author
Published by Thomas Dunne Books (2002)
ISBN 10: 0312300735 ISBN 13: 9780312300739
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
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Book Description Thomas Dunne Books, 2002. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: This is the story of Ianto: the feral, inarticulate, inbred, ignoble savage; haunter of mountains, killer of innocents. Ianto is a sheepshagger -- a yokel, a Welsh redneck. But Ianto is also a seer, a visionary -- the genius loci -- who comprehends nature with a Blakean intensity, and is at one with the world he lives in: the moss and lichen, the lamb and the raven, the summit and the scree. Robbed of his ancestral home -- a near-derelict hovel in the mountains of west Wales -- Ianto pledges revenge not only on the English yuppies who have turned his grandmother's cottage into a weekenders' barbecue party but on all those who have violated him and the land that is his. The oppression and abuse that Ianto has faced triggers his lurid imagination into unspeakable savagery -- embodying the most primal fears of physical threat and a world beyond his control. An extraordinary prose amalgam of Old Testament prophecy and demotic slang, of Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy, Sheepshagger is written in a language charged to the highest level: lyrical and hieratic, saturated -- like nature -- in beauty and violence. And the spirit of its place, Ianto, at once both Caliban and Prospero, will hang in the memory of all who read his story like a devil or a god. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0312300735

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