'Although it took me a couple of attempts to really dive into Funderland, Nigel Jarrett's alert collection of short stories proves an intricate and compelling read. Rewarded with vivid tales of intense human emotion, violence, remembrance and sense of place, Nigel Jarrett's imagination is matched by his vivid descriptive talents. As a writer and journalist based in Chepstow, there's also a strong Welsh resonance running through many of Funderland's tales – particularly in 'Mrs Kuroda On Penyfan'. A strong debut collection.' Gareth Ludkin, December 2011.
Here is the review:
As the latest in Parthian's valuable Bright Young Things series, this fresh and contemporary collection of poetry is a welcome introduction to some of our most promising young Welsh poets. Even for those unfamiliar with a genre sometimes perceived as inaccessible for the average reader, Ten of the Best handles modern life, pathos and biting contemporary comment with wit and style. The five poets included in the collection are Sion Tomos Owen, Anna Lewis, Mab Jones, Alan Kellermann and M.A.Oliver. Each of whom bring their own style of poetry to an overall varied and beguiling read. Sion Tomos Owen's socio-political poems carry weight, while Mab Jones' humour permeates her sometimes darker work. This collection of intriguing Welsh work deserves a place on your bookshelf.'
You can pick Buzz up at outlets across South Wales, or read it for free online.
Nigel Jarrett's stories take seemingly ordinary or innocent situations and gently tease out their emotional complexity. Both "Funderland" and "A Point of Dishonour" confound expectations superbly.
In the former, a couple who are not a couple negotiate a weekend away and their suppressed feelings for one another, while in the latter, a woman challenges the notion that her great-grandfather, shot for desertion during the First World War, should be seen as a hero. Jarrett likes the hidden tensions in family situations: caused by the strange stepfather in "Watching the Birdie", for example. He's not afraid of unusual perspectives and his bravery is well rewarded in this unusual and sensitive collection.
Reviewed by Paul Rees (no relation) in The Western Mail on Saturday 12 November:
'[...]Books are Rees’ obsession, not just his living. Every search through an insect-infested crate of battered and mouldy hardbacks and paperbacks starts with a dream of finding the rarest of first editions by a celebrated author, preferably with a dust-jacket.
He goes from auctions to house clearances in th hunt for literary gold, lamenting the increasing book savvy shown by charity shops who call in experts to help them value donations.
The result is an entertaining journey from London and NOrth Wales to Paris, Montpellier and Morocco. [...]'