Information about the author.
In poems full of rooms and houses, where wily nature eludes the instinct to tame, the observing eye of an anthropologist is combined with an exuberant, daring, and endlessly playful imagination. There are houses of memory and houses of the future, houses that stand empty and houses crammed with the accumulations of life. From the clothes that house bodies to the atmosphere that clothes the universe, from the flush of a toilet to the colonization of Mars, these works look at juxtapositions of the unruly and the controlled. It is no accident that several of the poems are about coastal places or climate change. The ceaseless erosion of nature is an image of the impossibility of capture, with language the last barrier against decay and disappearance. In “Norfolk,” the pebbles on the beach, the pennies in a slot machine, and a boy’s wobbly tooth concatenate with enormous pathos as the boy’s realizes that life’s events do not match his desire.
Colette Jones has had drink problems in the past, but now it seems as though her whole family is in danger of turning to alcohol. Her oldest son has thrown away a promising musical career for a job behind the counter in a builders’ merchants, and his drinking sprees with his brother-in-law Bill, a pseudo-Marxist supermarket butcher who seems to see alcohol as central to the proletarian revolution, have started to land him in trouble with the police. Meanwhile Colette’s recently widowered older brother is following an equally self-destructive path, having knocked back an entire cellar of homemade wine, he’s now on the gin, a bottle a day and counting. Who will be next? Her youngest son had decided to run away to sea, but when her own husband hits the bottle Colette realises she has to act. As the pressure builds on Colette to cope with these damaged people, her own weaknesses begin to emerge, and become crucial to the outcome of all their lives. …[more]
An unforgettable first novel revels in nostalgia for post-war England.
Aldous Jones flew over his bicycle handlebars in 1955, landing next to Farmer Evan’s field. Since that day, he’s taken his family camping at the Evan’s Welsh farm each summer. As the years pass the family idyll starts to disintegrate, and summers at the farm are drenched in memory. An evocative, funny English novel, with dark, mournful undercurrents.