Available in US & Canada from 4/18
UK, Australia & NZ from 5/18
Translations coming soon in:
France (Editions du Seuil)
Spain (Spanish: SeixBarral;
Catalan: Edicions 62)
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.
‘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 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
'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