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Caryl Lewis

Martha, Jack & Shanco

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  • £9.99


Translated by Gwen Davies

Bound together by blood ties, Martha, Jack and Shanco live on a farm in west Wales where their lives unfold in their eerie half-presence of their dead parents.
Glimmers of understanding punctuate their relationship with one another, but unspoken animosity seems to be the most potent ingredient. A lament for the prizes and the price of nurturing a landscape: an antidote for anyone impatient with those who
choose to stay in one place.


‘Harsh, lyrical, devastating, Caryl Lewis’s Welsh-language novel
of rural loneliness and loss sings with a bitter poetry in this
translation by Gwen Davies. Subject and setting are canonical:
the cycle of a tragic year, with ageing siblings marooned on
the hill farm inherited from parents who fixed their fate. Did
Martha and her brothers have “no choice”? Season by season,
Lewis shows the pull of the place even as she tells how it ruins its
people.’ – Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

‘Strong writing which often sparkles. The talent for expression
is at times superb, rising way above the challenge of translating.
Gwen Davies’s translation succeeds wholly in persuading you
to read the book. The language chosen is warm, keeping the
novel’s truth... you can be confident that those who can’t read
the original will not miss out.’ – Golwg

‘Martha Jack & Shanco is a raw and often disturbing novel by
Lewis, focussing on a farming family in rural west Wales who
are dislocated from society and modernity.’ – Buzz