Went out, got pissed. Same shit, different day.
Aberalaw, a tiny South Wales valley village where nobody ever arrives and nobody ever leaves. The new police chief has declared war on recreational drugs, resulting in an eighteen-month drought. The party-loving wives and girlfriends of local punk band, The Boobs, are getting desperate, both for drugs and thrills: Ellie, factory girl with dreams of a better life in New York; Rhiannon, hairdresser with a taste for violence and designer clothes and Siân, unappreciated, obsessive compulsive mother of three.
Into their lives, enter the languid dark stranger, Johnny: Englishman, drug dealer and shameless seducer. In the space of just a few months, three women's lives will be changed forever.
Prize-winning writer, Rachel Trezise, dissects the morals and mores of a small Welsh village community with a scalpel-sharp pen and an incisive wit.
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Praise for Sixteen Shades of Crazy:
‘This anti-romantic portrayal of modern valley life rings with musical dialogue and hangover humour.’ THE INDEPENDENT
‘Trezise opens up the lives of her characters with surgical skill, making you wince as well as laugh.’ THE WESTERN MAIL
‘We in the know have come to expect brilliance from Rachel Trezise, and Sixteen Shades of Crazy doesn't disappoint. This is a powerful, unflinching and extremely funny novel. It's a beauty.’DAN RHODES
‘Seamless and thoroughly enjoyable…A keen observer of contemporary culture, Trezise has penned yet another winner.’ THE SUN-HERALD
‘Sixteen Shades of Crazy is a dirty but Day-Glo slice of modern Valleys life.’ NEW WELSH REVIEW
‘written with great energy and verbal skill and its characters … are immediately engaging.’ SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
‘Trezise sings a sharp and suffocating song.’ THE AGE
‘On the one hand Sixteen Shades of Crazy finds Trezise sticking to her literary award-winning formula; unflinching yarns about the lifestyles, aspirations and collective hustle of working class characters (caricatures you might think on occasion) from her native Welsh valleys. On the other, her use of multiple narrative voices – switching between three women whose friendship seems fuelled by convenience rather than closeness – ramps up the interest factor of an already highly readable book.’ BUZZ MAGAZINE
Praise for Rachel Trezise:
‘Trezise is an outstanding young writer, with a wonderfully sharp,cynical take on contemporary Wales.’THE TIMES
‘The new face of literature.’HARPERS & QUEEN
‘A major new literary talent.’THE WESTERN MAIL
‘Trezise writes with an irresistible self-indulgence…the same complete command of the English language as the heavyweights of contemporary fiction.’THE BIG ISSUEFrom the Author:
Can you tell us a little bit about your new novel, Sixteen Shades of Crazy?
Sixteen Shades of Crazy is a novel about a stranger, an Englishman called Johnny; a drug-dealer and a shameless seducer who arrives to live in a small village in the south Wales valleys. In just under a year three women from the village, (wives and girlfriends of local rock band The Boobs,) have fallen in love with him with devastating consequences. The story is told by the women, Siân, unappreciated, obsessive-compulsive mother of three, Rhiannon, a hairdresser with a penchant for designer clothes and violence, and Ellie, factory girl with dreams of a better life in America. It’s a cautionary tale about the dangers of obsession and the confines of community.
Your writing had always attracted much critical acclaim: your first book In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl won a place on the Orange Futures List, your second, Fresh Apples won the Dylan Thomas Prize. What effect do you think wining these prestigious prizes so early in your career has had on your writing?
Winning a place on the Orange Futures List with my first book was an excellent beginning to my writing career but it was also a great pressure. Immediately agents were asking to see my next novel but I didn’t have one because I didn’t know at that stage how to devise a plot. My debut novel was autobiographical and I hadn’t fully got my head around writing fiction. My second book was a collection of short stories and they were like my fictional baby steps. When you’ve received that sort of acclaim you have to make sure you keep getting better or it feels as though you’re dishonouring the people who awarded you with their belief. I try not to think about it when I sit down to write. If I did I’m sure I’d spend days labouring over every sentence and get nothing done.
Dial M for Merthyr follows a welsh band on tour. What’s the sound track to your life?
Some of my first memories are of my mother playing Johnny Cash and Bobbie Gentry albums. She was a life-long country & western fan which thoroughly embarrassed me as a child, but now as an adult I’ve realised how skilled the song-writing was. There was a short story in every verse. My brother is ten years older than me so also as a child, I was continually listening to The Clash and the Sex Pistols. I sang Friggin’ In The Riggin’ in its entirety at nursery school one morning and the teacher had to send me home because of the swear words. I discovered Guns ‘n’ Roses at the age of thirteen and began a love affair with American rock music – anything from L7 and Metallica to Bruce Springsteen but by seventeen I’d discovered Tori Amos. I liked her song Silent All These Years so much I used part of it as the epigraph in my first book. Throughout my twenties my taste in music became more varied. I listened to a lot of Belle & Sebastian and English folk music like Eliza Carthy. Over the last few years I’ve been listening to Amy Winehouse and Regina Spektor. My all time favourite songwriter is Leonard Cohen. If I could only ever listen to one song for the rest of my life it’d be his Bird on a Wire.
What’s your favourite author or book?
My favourite book is Beloved by Toni Morrison. I studied it for ‘A’ Level and although I eventually failed my ‘A’ Level, I never forgot how inspiring that novel was. It was gruesome and beautiful in equal measures and although I probably didn’t realise it at the time, it was then that I stumbled on the recipe for good literature. It has to be able to make a reader laugh out loud with one sentence, and then make them feel nauseous with horror in the next. My favourite author currently is Annie Proulx. The language she uses in her work is just heavenly. When she describes food you can taste it. When she describes a face you can see it, and when she uses dialogue you can hear it.
Lastly, what are you reading at the moment and would you recommend it?
The book I’m reading at the moment is The Ballad of West Tenth Street by Marjorie Kernan, a fairy-tale set in modern day Greenwich Village. It’s not my usual sort of reading; I chose it on a whim because one of the characters in the book I’m working on lives on West 10th St too. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend it because it does none of the things I’ve outlined above, but it does have a certain oddball charm that keep the pages turning and I’m sure I would have loved it when I was fifteen.
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