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Edited with an introduction by Daniel Hughes
‘A restless shape-shifter from the mysterious Welsh Marches, Heseltine was as elusive in his idiosyncratic writing as in his extraordinary globetrotting life. It is good to have his work briefly pinned down in this groundbreaking collection for closer inspection.’
– Professor M.Wynn Thomas
Cariad County: a place of anarchy and farce, of the grotesque and the slapstick, of tragedy and violent comedy, where the local hunt is disrupted by a camel-riding hero, where the town hall burns down as the town cheers, a place haunted by grotesque revenants from the First World War. This is the world of Nigel Heseltine’s short stories, fantastic fictions which lampoon and lament the slow decline of the once-powerful squires and landowners of mid-Wales, the very Montgomeryshire of which Heseltine (1916-1995) formed a part.
Nigel Heseltine is a long-neglected member of Wales’s ‘Golden Generation’ of English-language short story writers which included Dylan Thomas, Rhys Davies and Glyn Jones. His stories appeared alongside theirs in major magazines such as English Story and Penguin New Writing in the 1930s and 1940s. This volume re-prints for the first time since their initial publication the stories published in Heseltine’s Tales of the Squirearchy (1946), alongside a substantial number of stories never previously collected. Ranging from the starkly surreal to the subtly moving, these tales reveal Nigel Heseltine as a singularly talented writer, the equal of his better-known contemporaries.