“Is inheritance something you construct, or something that is given to you? Are freedom and mobility precious gifts, or wretched pollutants? These are some of the questions Hughes’s novel asks.... Hughes is a very good writer, if ‘good writing’ has to do with precision, eloquence, beauty and passionately held belief.” – Times Literary Supplement
“A beautiful novel, rich in the complexities of childhood love and obsession, of adult remorse and the insatiable yearning for absolution.” – Madeline Thein
“A provocative exploration of the difficulty of leaving childhood behind, and about how being treated like an outsider all your life will leave you with a tragic sense of entitlement.”
– The Walrus
“Superbly accomplished ... Hughes’ prose is startling and luminous.” – Financial Times
In a remote Welsh village by the sea, four friends grow up together. Plain but charismatic Del is the ringleader, unstoppable, supremely confident in her ability to get her own way. Neil, shy and stuttering, and Ricky, full of rage and loneliness, are misfits at school until Del takes them under her wing. Steph is the outsider, but she too is mesmerised by Del’s devil-may-care approach to life.
They hang around together – mucking about in the woods, searching for treasure on the seashore, doing dares, sharing cigarettes. Then, one terrible day, the gang is broken up for good. Meeting ten years later in the now stagnating village, Neil, Ricky and Steph revisit their childhood haunts and re-live the memories that have cast a shadow over each of their lives. Del is, by turns, the beating heart at the centre of all their stories and a gaping absence.
Set against the backdrop of the northern Welsh coast, and told through the voices of Neil, Ricky and Steph – the children left behind – Revenant pieces together their memories of childhoods broken by desertion, absence and death, and uncovers the secrets and betrayals of childhood friendships, with thoughtful, shocking brilliance.
Tristan Hughes was born in Atikokan in northern Ontario and brought up on the Welsh island of Ynys Mon. He is the author of four novels, Send My Cold Bones Home, Revenant, Eye Lake and Hummingbird – which won the Edward Stanford Award for Fiction with a Sense of Place and the Wales Book of Year People’s Choice Award – as well as a collection of linked short stories, The Tower. His short fiction has appeared in various journals, including Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and New Welsh Review. He is a winner of the Rhys Davies short story prize and an O. Henry Award.