A farmer mulls the frustrations of family and the hardships of agrarian life in this beautifully written short novel by Welsh writer Jones (Everything I Found on the Beach). Gareth, a husband and father of two, wakes up on a summer morning to discover that one of his cows—pregnant and due to give birth at any moment—has gone missing. As he scours the fields, he reflects on his wife’s depression, his teenage son’s waywardness, his adolescent daughter’s innocence, and the incursions of modernity that seem to threaten the only way of life he’s ever known. Brought to the farm as a child by his tranquility-seeking father, Gareth fears for the future of his land: Will his children look after it? Will it continue to sustain his family? His ruminations lend a tender, anxious beauty to his surroundings. A bee stirs up “tiny little curls of dust,” a dead calf is a “patch of wet tarmac on a new road,” gorse seeds pods explode “in the sun with sharp snaps.” What the story lacks in incident it makes up for in attention to the textures of life, which unite the family and the animals they tend. Even when nothing is happening in Jones’s fiction, a lot is happening, and the natural settings are bountifully alive. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017 Release date: 04/01/2017 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.