American Interior

AMERICAN INTERIOR BY GRUFF RHYS

 American Int cover

Being the supremely talented artist he is, Gruff Rhys hasn’t just written a book called American Interior, he has also made a full length album, an app and a movie to accompany this great adventure story.

His multi-media package documents the odysseys of both Gruff and his distant relative, Welsh farmhand John Evans across the American plains, two centuries apart.

In 1792 a 22 year old Evans from Snowdonia travelled to America to find out whether there was, as many thought, a Welsh speaking Native American tribe – the Madogwys – still walking the Great Plains.

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In the summer of 2012 a fascinated Gruff set off to retrace the explorer’s route into the American Interior by means of an “Investigative Concert Tour” – a series of solo gigs performed along the way with just an acoustic guitar, PowerPoint presentation and the star of the show, a 3ft high felt avatar of John Evans. Continue reading

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Fantastic fifth mystery with Flavia

SPEAKING FROM AMONG THE BONES: FLAVIA DE LUCE MYSTERY 5

BY ALAN BRADLEY

Speaking from among the bones cover

 

The delightful eleven-year-old amateur sleuth is back! This is the fifth book in the Flavia de Luce series – my most favourite detective series of all. Not at all run of the mill and bursting full of hilarious characters and ghastly murders, Alan Bradley’s cult books are almost impossible to put down.

In this story the tomb of St Tancred is opened to reveal the body of the popular church organist lying in a pool of blood with a gas mask covering his once handsome face.

Our budding chemist and detective Flavia immediately engages her marvellous powers of deduction, not to mention eavesdropping and snooping, to lead her deep into the past, to a strange story of lost manuscripts and the precious Heart of Lucifer stone.

Accompanied by her trusty bicycle Gladys and with the use of the chemical laboratory at the family down at heel Buckshaw home, Flavia is as ever one step ahead of the police and the killers alike. Continue reading

The times they are a-changing

BREWSTER 

BY MARK SLOUKA

Brewster

A critics quote on the back cover of this book said: “Reading Brewster is like entering the very heart of a Bruce Springsteen song – all grace, all depth, all sinew.” I bought it on the spot. Sounded perfect to me.

Brewster is a coming of age story set in small-town America in the late Sixties. Like the Dylan records they listen to by the reservoir, the times they are a-changing for Jon Mosher and his best friend, local legend Ray Cappicciano.

Set against the backdrop of finishing up school, long summers, track running, fist fighting and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Fortunate Son,’ Mosher and his pals dream of a way out of their tragic home lives – with abuse and bereavement at the heart of this novel.

What follows is an intense story, one written with devastating patience that burns slowly and brilliantly. The narrative is gripping and Slouka uses minimalist but excellent prose to conjure up the mood of the era.

Surprising and dramatic events in the final chapters finish off a terrific read. One to devour.

SOUTHSEA BOOKWORM RATING: 9/10

Notes on the author: Mark Slouka

  • Author of two other novels – Lost Lake and The Visible World
  • Contributing editor to Harper’s
  • Lives in upstate New York