Despite everything else going on in the world, Team Parthian started 2021 with our hearts full of hope... and a couple of nice reviews too.
First up was yet another set of praise for Exiles, by Dónall Mac Amhlaigh, translated by Mícheál Ó hAodha - this time from the online arts platform Culture Matters:
"Poet Mícheál Ó hAodha has now beautifully translated his late novel Deoraithe (1986) as Exiles. The experience of emigration, unskilled labouring and culture shock for native Irish speakers landing on the English job market, all feed into a gripping read... Mícheál Ó hAodha sensitively renders the Irish vernacular into very readable, authentic Hiberno-English, which gives readers a sense of the rhythms and sounds of Irish." - Jenny Farrel, Culture Matters
Next we found that the brilliant Hana by Alena Mornštajnová (translated by Julia and Peter Sherwood) had been selected as #1 for 2021 by book blog 'Two in a Teacup':
"I absolutely adored this book and am really disappointed that it doesn’t seem to have found its way into more hands – seriously, read it!"
We couldn't agree more. If you haven't scoped-out this European bestseller yet, now's your reason!
In print we saw Jack Smylie Wild's Riverwise: Meditations on Afon Teifi really positively reviewed in the January issue of The Lady:
"He honours coracle-men, farmers and hunters as much as incomer idealists" - Derek Turner.
There was also a fantastic double-page spread in the Western Mail this month, focused on Alys Morgan's hospital memoir Ward Nine: Coronavirus.
Alys was interviewed by Jenny White about her experience, and her journey to recovery through writing the book:
"Alys Morgan's riveting account of her experiences as a Covid-19 patient in hospital is very much a book for our times... It's a timely reminder of the value of the NHS, the commitment of its staff, and the challenge of coping with snowballing numbers of critically ill patients."
On Wales Arts Review this month Adam Somerset reviews Peter Lord's latest contribution to art history in Wales, Looking Out:
"In Lord’s perspective, culture is the story that a national community shapes to tell itself."
And finally, we've had some really lovely reader feedback over on Netgalley this month. Here are a few snippets:
"An honest, sometimes difficult, but ultimately uplifting read about a complicated mother/daughter relationship, told in two parts. Part one, which covers the year in which the author is the full time carer for her elderly mother, particularly resonated with me. The situations that Wells experienced were familiar and relatable, and she did a fantastic job of articulating the conflicting and complex emotions that affect both parties."
On How Love Actually Ruined Christmas by Gary Raymond: "An absolute riot. Highly recommended!"
"As a nurse currently working in an intensive care unit, this book moved me to beyond tears, it was very hard-hitting and makes every shift, every pressure sore, the exhaustion worthwhile. Alys Morgan gives her own poignant first-hand account of COVID-19. I do not have the words to describe this book and how much it meant to me, I sincerely hope that the public who may be sceptical of COVID understand COVID’s lethality and the importance of precautions, and what patients and nurses such as myself go through."