"Stump makes you feel that you are reading on the edge of a life in a fierce gale, vulnerable, excited, alive." The Guardian (London)
Wet an spectacular wreckage leads to "powerful forgetting" which leads to "periodics" which lead to the "dry drunks" which go to "immersion" an "enabler" an "therapeutic alliance" an any alternative, any fuckin alternative atropine aversion therapy or Antabuse or ECT or acufuckinpuncture or snakepits or swimming with dolphins an all of that all of it comes completely back to this one pure irreducible phenomenon: a booming heart that burns to drink.
It has taken the loss of a limb and a death threat from the Mob to make one Liverpudlian dry out and move to a small seaside town in Wales. But his past life is a recurring nightmarefilth, desperation, and blackouts. And more trouble is only a hundred miles away. Darren and Alastair leave Liverpool, heading south in a rickety old car. They have been sent by their gang boss to wreak violent revenge, but they have only a rough idea of their quarry: a one-armed man.
Interspersed between the scabrous banter and a pitch-perfect street dialect, Niall Griffiths offers stunning descriptions of the Welsh landscape and a dark, knowing humor. Despite the ever present drugs, violence, and anger, he reveals a fragile humanity. Graywolf is proud to introduce this striking, distinctive voice to American readers.
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||4.72(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.59(d)|
About the Author
Niall Griffiths was born in Liverpool in 1966 and now lives in Wales. His previous novels include Sheepshagger, Kelly + Victor, and Grits, which is currently being filmed for television in the U.K.
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By Niall Griffiths
Graywolf PressCopyright © 2005 Niall Griffiths
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHe came down into me garden again this mornin, the fox, thee ahl fox with the one eye. Round about dawn, I mean the sky was still more night than day like, still a moon up there there was, an he came down off the mountain an through the hedge an into me garden, sniffed around the rabbit hutch for a bit then ate the cold bits of chip an fish batter I'd left out for him last night. Wolfed them as if he was starving, as if he hadn't eaten in weeks, then cocked his leg an pissed on me cabbages an fucked off back through the hedge an back up again on to the mountain. I stood at the kitchen sink, staring out through the window, watchin him. He didn't notice me, or if he did, he wasn't arsed; it didn't bother him, my shape at the window. Me rabbit, Charlie, was safe asleep in me bedroom, in a box lined with an ahl jumper underneath the bed, an me pulse raced an me skin crawled from the vile nightmare that'd woken me up so I came into the kitchen for some water an a fag an saw the tawny shape low in the mornin mist through the greasy glass. Them highsteppin paws, so delicate the way he lifts them an puts them down. Thin winter ribs under the russet fur an the white-tipped tail arched high over his back an his pointed muzzle probing through the dewy mist like the prow of a ship. An the one green eye glinting an then the fox-shaped hole in the mist as he turned an went away again so sudden, back through the hedge to up on to Pen Dinas, the head of the town, where I suppose he lives This wild animal in me garden. This talented predator, here in my head. I gulped water an watched the mist tendril in to refill the hole made by his absence. Me skin dried, me heartbeat slowed back to normal. Me stump stopped itching or, rather, the void at the end of it did. The hole. Thee emptiness. The sick an warty shapes of me nightmare just dissolved like salt in water an I could feel me sanity, my hard-won fuckin santiy, me sanity gained at the cost of a fuckin limb, being painlessly restored. That wild fox in me garden. Little red one-eyed wolf come down off the mountain into my living space to eat the scraps I'd left out for him an pee on me strugglin cabbages. Bein visited by that wild thing. How I fucking love this. Drank me water, smoked me fag, went back to me still-warm bed. Checked on Charlie, wee white fluffy slumberin bundle in the shadows beneath me mattress an I climbed on to that mattress an slept for another three hours. Nightmareless, whisperless sleep. Unusual an needed. Would've slept longer but Charlie woke me up by sniffin at me face. Little big-eared lettuce-breathin hoppin bastard. Fox. Try an make yer breakfast with one fuckin arm; take the kettle over to the sink, put it down on the drainin board, turn the cold tap on, pick the kettle up again an fill it, put it down again an work thee attachment into the socket an flick it on. Open the cupboard door, take the mug out an put it down on the worktop, close the cupboard door, take a tea bag out of the box an put it in the mug. Open the fridge door, take milk out, put milk down on the floor while you unscrew the top, pour a drop into the mug then put the bottle back on the floor again while you put the top back on then replace it in the fridge an close the door. Open another cupboard door, remove a bowl an put it on the worktop, close the cupboard door, remove a bowl an put it on the worktop, close the cupboard door. Take the box of Ricicles an hold it between what's left of yer left arm an yer ribs on that side while you unfurl the plastic inner wrapper with yer good hand, your only hand, tip the box an shake some cereal into the bowl, put it between yer stump an ribs again an rescrew up the inner wrapper with yer one hand an put the box back an then say 'shite' cos you've forgotten to leave the milk out, after nearly two fuckin long one-armed years you've still forgotten to leave the friggin milk out. So it's back to the fridge, close door again. Take a spoon out of the cutlery drawer, close cutlery drawer. Back to kettle which has clicked off now, pour boiling water into mug, put spoon into bowl of popping cereal an take it into the front room, put it down on the coffee table, turn telly on. Return to kitchen, agitate the tea bag in the mug with a spoon until the liquid turns brownish, then delve into the box of sugar cubes which you buy instead of loose sugar because cubes are easier to deal with one-handedly an take up two cubes an drop them in the mug. Scoop wilted bag out with spoon, drop it in bin, put spoon in sink then take up tea an go back into the front room, where news on the telly informs you of more countrywide train disruptions, delays an cancellations, not that yer plannin on travellin anywhere. Blow on to cool an then sip tea. When you eat the cereal, leave the bowl on coffee table an lean over it an scoop it up into yer mouth. Put the spoon in the bowl whenever you need a sip of tea cos you've got no other hand to hold the mug with. Ridiculous empty sleeve floppin an a-flappin down yer body. Nowt fuckin in it, no, just a daft an empty fuckin sleeve. (Continues...)
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