WEST


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OUT NOW:

Australia & New Zealand (Text Publishing)

Brazil (Alfaguara)

Spain (Spanish: SeixBarral); 

Catalan (Edicions 62)

France (Editions du Seuil)

Italy (Bompiani)

Germany (Luchterhand)

COMING SOON:

Russia (AST)

Holland (Meulenhoff Boekerij)

 

U.K. ORDERS:

Winner of the 2019 Wales Book of the Year Fiction Award 

Runner Up for the Society of Authors’ McKitterick Prize 2019

Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019

One of The Sunday Times's 100 21st Century Novels to Love

A Sunday Times Best Book of the Year

A Guardian Best Book of the Year

An Irish Independent Best Book of the Year

A Washington Independent Review of Books Favorite Book of the Year 

A Sydney Morning Herald Best Book of 2018

A White Review Best Book of the Year

A Wales Arts Review Best Book of the Year

A Los Angeles Public Library Best Book of the Year

A Savidge Reads Favourite Book of 2018

A Big Issue Best Book of 2018

A Real Simple Best Book of 2018

When widowed mule breeder Cy Bellman reads in the newspaper that colossal ancient bones have been discovered in a Kentucky swamp, he sets out from his small Pennsylvania farm to see for himself if the rumours are true: that the giant monsters are still alive and roam the uncharted wilderness beyond the Mississippi River. Promising to return within two years, he leaves behind his daughter, Bess, to the tender mercies of his taciturn sister, Julie. With only a barnyard full of miserable animals and her dead mother’s gold ring to call her own, Bess fills lonely days tracing her father’s route on maps at the subscription library in town and shrinking from the ominous attentions paid to her and her aunt by their neighbour and sometimes yard hand, Elmer Jackson. Bellman, meanwhile, ventures farther and farther from home, across the harsh and alien landscapes of the West in reckless pursuit of the unknown.

From Frank O’Connor Award winner Carys Davies, West is a spellbinding and timeless epic-in-miniature, an eerie parable of early frontier life, and an electric monument to possibility.

 

Reviews:

‘Stunning...Not a word is wasted in this tale of American exploration that holds tragedy and comedy in delicate balance.'—The Guardian

‘The best book I've read this year - Carys Davies's miraculous little debut novel...so warm and human in its economy, that it shames the behemoths sitting beside it on the nation's bookshelves’—Andrew Holgate, The Sunday Times

'This short, stunning novel taps into the mythos of the American frontier while offering a vivid tale of devotion and loss'—San Francisco Chronicle

‘The tale she weaves is nearer to a spoken legend than an historical novel: a brief, luminous, uncanny story which seems both very specific and eternal, strange and familiar, domestic and grand, funny and deeply sad’—Kate Clanchy, chair of the Rathbones Folio Prize judges

‘This book came from left field and knocked us out like a roundhouse punch to the muzzle’—Bookmunch

'In lyrical and chiselled prose, Carys Davies tells a story of wandering and waiting, exploring both outer and inner landscapes with gentle sensitivity'—Le Figaro 

'Incredible' —Simon Savidge, Savidge Reads

'One of the most haunting and beautifully crafted novels I have read in a long time… Davies has produced something quite wonderful in West. This is a gently seductive book, one that entrances right to its cleverly conceived end.'—The Sunday Times

'a wonderful novel...one of my favorites this year'—Mariella Frostrup, BBC Open Book

'Beautifully sad… Davies' lapidary prose is a marvel – she creates worlds in a few deft pen strokes'—The Times

'This miniature epic is a small marvel... it tackles huge themes – extinction, colonialism, grief, love, loneliness – with profound wit and a light touch'—The Guardian's Best Holiday Books for 2019

'Brief and brilliant...it is that rare thing, an historical novel that gives no hint of the research on which it is constructed but seems to have arisen effortlessly out of a time and place.' —Penelope Lively

'A lithe yet lyrical meditation on obsession, violence, and the yoke of family...Davies is an audaciously talented writer'—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

'Slender, stark and utterly mesmerising… the language, lyrical yet pared down, conveys complicated feelings of grief, guilt, sadness and a strange kind of wonder'—The Mail on Sunday

'A multi-faceted gem of a book, West taps the spirit of the great quest novels of Twain, Melville and Cervantes, but with a gentle feminist twist'—The Toronto Star

‘A short, sharp punch of a book. Lean, taut, but powerfully felt, the economy of character and storytelling is miraculous’ —Russell T. Davies 

'Immensely engaging and brilliantly written, this short debut novel is a miniature masterpiece'—Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times Best Books of the Year

'Already one of the best books of 2018.’ —Estadao (Brazil)

'Davies' brilliant gem of a novel glints with sadness and a somber kind of wonder'—The Sunday Express

'There is something of Don Quixote about Bellman… West’s characters never feel less than fully human, the world they inhabit never less than fully imagined, and for the final third a real page turner too. A magnificent achievement'—The Scotsman

'A visionary and beautiful fable of discovery and dreaming, along with some harsh truths about the reality of American history and its dreamers' lives. Behind it you can hear the rustling weight of American literature: Moby-Dick, Huckleberry Finn, Cold Mountain, Lonesome Dove. And the writing is astonishing, right to the heart-stopping end.'—The Sydney Morning Herald

'A page-turner that can stop you in your tracks to linger over a sentence…It’s a bravura performance — seasons come and go in a handful of words and there are masterful shifts of perspective and tense — but Davies’s artistry is matched by her storytelling powers, and her denouement is cheer-raisingly satisfying'—Daily Mail

'West has the wisdom and lyrical prose of a folk tale whose power grips from the beginning and demands a single-session read.'—The Irish Times

'Exquisite...tense, captivating and whittled to perfection'—Anthony Cummins in Metro

'West is my best read for ages...a haunting, beautifully weighted tale, so skillfully and sparely told that it’s hard to believe Davies hasn’t published anything at length before'—The Evening Standard (London)

'As in a lofty Bierstadt painting, Davies’ slim novel presents a landscape of mystery and longing, of possibility and the hunt for the impossible….This is a book you could read in an afternoon. But you won’t want to. Davies’ prose is something you’ll want to savor'—Washington Independent Review of Books

'Incredible, violent,uplifting and empowering - how Davies manages to create such an enduring story in 150 pages is a mystery, but she nails it'—Instyle

'West is an exquisite debut that’s short in length but steeped in the tall tales of American myth'—Lit Hub

'An absolute gem. A perfectly imagined epic story in under 150 pages. Mythic like all the best westerns but also with a deep appreciation of loss - of family and of home - running through it like a river. My book of the year so far.'—Claire Malcolm, New Writing North

‘A tightly-knit, compulsively readable tale…Davies’ slender novel has all the heft of a sprawling western classic.'—Booklist, starred review

'Davies' slim, complex, and achingly beautiful first novel is a sculpture of daring shifts and provocative symmetries welded together by lyrical, fast-paced prose. The result is a choral performance, reminiscent of those by Penelope Fitzgerald...Deployed on the stage of the midlapsarian American frontier, Davies' chorus manages to weave threads of myth and hope into the gnarly chords of historical tragedy. A masterful first novel—the sort of book that warms even as it devastates, that forces serious reflection and yet charms.'—Kirkus, starred review

'Graceful prose and sharp observations make this absorbing debut a standout.'—Library Journal, starred review

'In her transfixing first novel, Davies tells a stark story about exploration and extinction on the American continent... Mesmerizing.'—Publishers Weekly

'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 of The Burning Girl and The Woman Upstairs

'West’s strength lies in belief, and wonder, and the simple pure clarity of that in an incomprehensible world.'—Cynan Jones, author of Cove and The Dig

'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, author of Brooklyn and House of Names

'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 reminder of fiction's possibilities.' —Akhil Sharma, author of Family Life and A Life of Adventure and Delight

'A jewel of delicacy and poetry, strange and wonderful'—La Stampa (Italy)

'An engrossing work of historical fiction grappling with themes of vulnerability, longing and hope that transcend all contexts... West leaves the reader feeling as vulnerable and full of wonder as the book's main characters'—BookPage (starred review)

'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, author of The End

'West is a journey and a wonder. A man leaves what he loves and goes west in search of the amazing. A story concerned with value and language, love and absence, life and death. A debut of real distinction.'—Bernard MacLaverty, author of Midwinter Break and Cal

'Splendid'—El País (Spain)

'An astounding little book brimming with big ideas...the tiniest of volumes, with precise sentences, snipped words, and short paragraphs. You can, and probably will, devour it in a sitting. You will almost certainly return to it. A take on the wild west that is refreshingly new, that offers something other than violence and dispossession'—Blarney Books

'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.' —Téa Obreht author of The Tiger's Wife

'Davies… has the astonishing ability to capture a life – however idiosyncratic – in the briefest of brushstrokes' —Evening Standard, London

'This small jewel of a debut novel [is] a hauntingly beautiful book' —Australian Financial Review

‘I really loved Carys Davies’ West, a brisk, beautifully-written novella… Reminded me a little of Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams' —David Nicolls, author of One Day and Sweet Sorrow

'Davies's Wild West is so vivid you can feel the pull of the river currents, hear the horses' hooves on fresh snow, and taste the dirt in your teeth. But this is not your usual saga of pioneers or cowboys...Davies plays with notions of hope, faith, magical thinking, and other species of belief throughout this thoroughly beguiling novel'—Laurie Greer, Politics & Prose

‘A tiny jewel of a novel, but sweeping in its power and scope... an unforgettably epic tale of settlers and monsters’—Julie Myerson, The Guardian