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The Welsh Girlby Peter Ho Davies
Synopses & Reviews
Howard Norman, widely regarded as one of this countrys finest novelists, returns to the mesmerizing fictional terrain of his major books—The Bird Artist, The Museum Guard, and The Haunting of L—in this erotically charged and morally complex story.
Seventeen-year-old Wyatt Hillyer is suddenly orphaned when his parents, within hours of each other, jump off two different bridges—the result of their separate involvements with the same compelling neighbor, a Halifax switchboard operator and aspiring actress. The suicides cause Wyatt to move to small-town Middle Economy to live with his uncle, aunt, and ravishing cousin Tilda.
Setting in motion the novels chain of life-altering passions and the wartime perfidy at its core is the arrival of the German student Hans Mohring, carrying only a satchel. Actual historical incidents—including a German U-boats sinking of the Nova Scotia-Newfoundland ferry Caribou, on which Aunt Constance Hillyer might or might not be traveling—lend intense narrative power to Normans uncannily layered story.
Wyatts account of the astonishing—not least to him— events leading up to his fathering of a beloved daughter spills out twenty-one years later. Its a confession that speaks profoundly of the mysteries of human character in wartime and is directed, with both despair and hope, to an audience of one.
An utterly stirring novel. This is Howard Norman at his celebrated best.
Set in the stunning landscape of North Wales just after D-Day, Peter Ho Daviess profoundly moving first novel traces the intersection of disparate lives in wartime. When a POW camp is established near her village, seventeen-year-old barmaid Esther Evans finds herself strangely drawn to the camp and its forlorn captives. She is exploring the camp boundary when the astonishing occurs: Karsten, a young German corporal, calls out to her from behind the fence. From that moment on, the two foster a secret relationship that will ultimately put them both at risk. Meanwhile, another foreigner, the German-Jewish interrogator Rotherham, travels to Wales to investigate Britain's most notorious Nazi prisoner, Rudolf Hess. In this richly drawn and thought-provoking work, all will come to question where they belong and where their loyalties lie.
A novel about the murder of a German youth in Canada during WWII.
Set in the stunning landscape of North Wales just after D-Day, Peter Ho Davies's profoundly moving first novel traces a perilous wartime romance. Barmaid Esther Evans has lived all of her seventeen years on a sheep farm in Snowdonia, and she yearns for a taste of the wider world. But in the final, harrowing months of World War II, the world unexpectedly comes to her, in the form of a POW camp set up nearby. It is there that she first encounters Karsten, a young German corporal of tormented conscience, struggling to reconcile his surrender with his sense of honor.
The consequences of their relationship resonate through the lives of an unforgettable ensemble cast of characters: Esther's proud nationalist father, the resentful English evacuee who lives on the farm, the German-Jewish interrogator sent to Wales to investigate the British Army's most notorious Nazi prisoner, Rudolf Hess. In this thought-provoking work, all will come to question where they belong and where their loyalties lie.
About the Author
Peter Ho Davies is on the faculty of the graduate program in creative writing at the University of Michigan. His debut collection The Ugliest House in the World won the John Llewellyn Rhys and PEN/Macmillan awards in Britain. His second collection, Equal Love, was hailed by the New York Times Book Review for its "stories as deep and clear as myth." It was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a New York Times Notable Book. In 2003 Davies was named among the "Best of Young British Novelists" by Granta. The Welsh GIrl is his first novel. The son of a Welsh father and Chinese mother, Davies was raised in England and spent his summers in Wales. He is married and has one son.
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