Synopses & Reviews
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.
Beautifully conjures a place and its people, in an extraordinary time . . . a rare gem.”Claire Messud
A beautiful, ambitious novel that takes the reader into the most personal corner of war. It is emotionally resonant and perfectly rendered.”Ann Patchett
"A memorable writer of sinewy intelligence and rare grace." -- David Mitchell
An ambitious, layered meditation on what it means to be from a particular place . . . Ideas do more than gird the novels absorbing world; they animate it. Daviess achievement is significant.” -- Jennifer Egan The New York Times Book Review
If you loved The English Patient, theres probably a place in your heart for The Welsh Girl . . .evocative.” USA Today
"Peter Ho Davies, whose short stories over the past decade have demonstrated his quicksilver brilliance with the material of ordinary lives, has at last taken the plunge and produced a novel. Sentence by sentence, character by character, scene by scene, it's one of the best of the winter so far." -- Alan Cheuse The Chicago Tribune
Daviess characters are marvelously nuanced.” The Los Angeles Times
Davies appears to be able to inhabit anyone.” Newsday
Resonates with an authenticity that had to be earned . . . The specifics of Esthers world . .. grant the novel a moody authority reminiscent of another age.” --Gail Caldwell Boston Globe
" Davies employs an elegant, cinematic prose . . .This is a deeply felt, deeply imagined novel, and its characters remain a presence after the book is closed in the way that one walks off from an opera, still hearing the melodies." -- Stuart Dybek
"[A] beautifully written story of life and love on the outskirts of war. . . This first novel by Davies. . . has been anticipated - and with its wonderfully drawn characters, it has been worth the wait." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
"In this skilled, beautifully empathic novel, the intersection of English troops, German POWs, and Welsh families with their flocks yields surprising insights into what it means to have a territory. Peter Ho Davies is a wonderful writer." -- Andrea Barrett
"The quiet power of this book comes on slowly and unrelentingly, offering a mesmerizing look into one man’s past. Creating one of the most captivating and effective uses of the retrospective letter format in recent memory, Norman’s prose is understated, eloquent and perfectly chosen, and his novel paints a picture of one man’s legacy that will not soon be lost."
—BookPage "The latest from master of precision Howard Norman is again set in the gray majesty of Nova Scotia, where 17-year-old orphan Wyatt Hillyer moves in with his devoted aunt and uncle and their adopted daughter, Tilda, the love of stoic Wyatt's life. The ravages of Hitler and his dastardly German U-boats lurking beneath Canadian waters hit their home hard. In What Is Left the Daughter, Norman writes with spare elegance and dry humor, and the extraordinary emotional power of his slim new novel is earned with authentic grace.
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.