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Grits [Kindle Edition]

Niall Griffiths
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

In the late 1990s, a group of young drifters from various parts of Britain find themselves washed up together in a small town on the west coast of Wales, fixed between mountains and sea. Here, they both explore and attempt to overcome those yearnings and addictions which have brought them to this place: promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, petty crime, the intense and angry search for the meaning which they feel life lacks at the arse-end of this momentous century. A novel about the dispossessed and disenfranchised, about people with no further to fall, Grits is also resolutely about the spirit of the individual, and each character's story is told in their own rich, powerful dialect. Through their voices, the novel charts this chapter in their lives, presenting, with humour and rage and a deep underlying sadness, a picture of the diversity and waste that is life in Britain today.A work of power, passion and enormous originality, Grits describes - in language both mythic and demotic - ways of living that appear squalid but which aspire to the spiritual. As a novel that speaks for an under-class and a sub-culture, it stands comparison with Cain's Book and Trainspotting.

Product Description

Amazon Review

With such classics as Generation X and Trainspotting, notions of generational angst are still a fertile breeding ground of forceful expression for authors. Now we have Grits, a complex debut from Niall Griffiths, in which the lives of a group of disenfranchised loners are laid bare as they confront their own anger at society and the ruin it has made of their lives.

Set in the socially complex late 1990s, these drifters meet in a small coastal village in West Wales, brought there as they attempt to escape their various addictions (drugs, alcohol, crime, promiscuity) and find a place where they can dissect and extract meaning from their damaged lives. The setting of the novel is an intriguing premise in itself: an isolated village, wedged between two of natures more inhospitable locales, the sea and mountains. It is a cunning tool, reinforcing the trapped nature of these lives, no matter the reasons they ended up there. Equally successful is Griffith's use of language: each of the characters narrative is written in a "phonetic" style, which allows their personalities and emotions to erupt from the page:

Evil is not an amorphous, anonymous fing; it has a house an a family, it eats breakfast, it wears certain clowthes an squirms tentacles in ta every aspect av ya life. It will neva give in ... Right now, someone is lacing up their polished black shoes and double-checking your address. Run.
It makes it hard-going but perseverance yields effective results. Though it lacks the full-on deviant humour of Trainspotting, Grits certainly shares that book's incisive and gritty glimpse into a potent underclass who have willingly embraced an ideology of disenchantment, expressed through petty addictions and fuelled by relentless anger. An exciting debut that will appeal to the legions of people who feel such pain to whatever degree. --Danny Graydon


"An astonishing feat -- pulsing on every page with the unmistakable brilliance, authenticity and spirit of a magnificently gifted writer." --Irvine Welsh "Any fan of "Trainspotting will find "Grits persuasive, alarming and addictive."--"The Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 735 KB
  • Print Length: 498 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0099285177
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (30 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099285177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099285175
  • ASIN: B005M2A4VQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #262,135 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaping off the page 29 Sept. 2004
This is the best book I've read - by a mile - for absolutely ages, maybe years.
It helps if you've actually heard the regional accents that inform the phonetic style of the writing before (there's a Liverpudlian, a girl from Yorkshire, an Essex boy and a few Welsh characters, so I imagine, say, an American reader would find it really hard going) - but if you have, you'll crack through the different snapshot-stories as if it were your own inner monologue you were listening to. The characters really do LEAP off the page at you, too - what makes the book so powerful is that you can begin to accept their motivations just the way they explain them to themselves, until you glimpse the same events from another point of view.
It's not all grit and grime, either, and even the worst folk in the story sometimes have a warmth to them. Disco-ball flicking from one scene to the next weaves each character's story tightly to the others.
I can't recommend it enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not for me... 25 Sept. 2012
By db
Painfully long with no real plot (other than various encounters of getting wasted told through the eyes of different main characters). If you can feel a connection to these characters (unemployed, disillusioned youth etc), geography (west coast Wales) and lifestyles (drugs/late 90s) then you may be able to endure the novel in it's entirety, although I found it repetitive and dull. I realise that the novel is purposely bleak although it lacks the dark humour of say, Trainspotting or other novels of the same vein. There is some beautiful writing in regards to geography and nature although I didn't enjoy this book due to the lack of plot combined with it's length.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Awfully long but worth persevering with 6 Sept. 2012
By HuddsOn
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Each chapter consists of a monologue by a different narrator and the book lacks a conventional plot-driven structure. Typically, a character's monologue provides a sort of broken narrative describing disconnected events that have taken place over the course of several months, or perhaps even a few years, as there is nothing to give you a clear sense of time. The effect is a bit like someone sporadically keeping a video diary, and is perhaps meant to indicate their alienation from mainstream society.

Griffiths does not exactly make his characters' shambolic, dole-reliant, thrill-seeking lifestyle seem particularly attractive to outsiders, but he certainly makes it comprehensible. They choose it, or are sucked into it for a variety of reasons - low self-esteem, disfunctional childhoods, a sense of entitlement, and an inability to compete in a materialistic, goal-driven society are all hinted at as factors. But he doesn't attempt to offer simplistic textbook explanations for addiction or self-destructive behaviour. He creates a whole spectrum of rootless (mainly working-class) characters without ever resorting to off-the-peg underclass stereotypes, from the relatively abstemious (but self-obsessed and unreliable) Paul, the Gaelic poetry-reading, amphetamine-snorting Colm, to the sociopathic junkie Roger (you can never quite tell whether the others put up with him because they enjoy his company or because they're scared of him and his drug-dealing associates).

I felt he didn't quite get under the skin of his female characters as much as the men, but still a very impressive debut.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thats Life! 16 May 2001
By A Customer
Quite simply an amazing feat of literature. Sums up the angst and the desires and fears that characterise the forgotten people of society - the people that actually live life, those who are forced to deal with the very worst, but also the most real aspects of a system devoid of compassion and filled with hate. It is a glimspe into the world that intermingles with that of the priviliged people but is never seen. An eye opening and ultimately life affirming novel. And as an aber local, it makes it even more real...
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2.0 out of 5 stars OVERLONG, RAMBLING STORY ABOUT DRUG ABUSE 27 Aug. 2013
By J
Whereas, in Irvine Welsh's books (don't just compare this to Trainspotting. Try Maribu Stork Nightmares, for example), there is a superb plot, the characters are likeable and the set-pieces are extremely funny, Grits is the opposite on every score: almost zero plot, irritating characters and wooden set-pieces. It is obvious Griffiths is trying to ape Welsh but I get the feeling writing colloquially only works well in Scottish and only then if the characters are infused with real humour. I had real problems finishing Grits but I acknowledge that, even if I didn't like it, Grits must have been difficult to write and had it had a good plot I could maybe have overlooked the dull characters. In the sleevenotes an Observer critic comments: '...he (Griffiths) captures the tedium of a life lived from one fix to the next.' He certainly does...with one tedious book!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of the year 3 July 2001
By A Customer
What a great book - great characters, great prose, and a realistic take on life in the aber area. Makes trainspotting appear limp in comparison. His writing on taking drugs is frighteningly accurate, look forward to his next book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trainspotting revisited 12 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
Grits is a novel about a group of drug addicts who have found their way to a small town in Wales. The story itself has no plot, just the first person narrations by the addicts themselves, each looking for an impossible fulfilment. Each narration is different, though their respective language usage is similar enough to be able to argue that Griffiths is asserting group subconsciousness in the place of individuality. The book is indeed an achievement, but one that comes at a price. In an attempt to give the book a visceral reality, the words themselves are phonetically spelled, making the five hundred page book an incredibly exhausting read. Irvine Welsh liked it though...Perhaps Welsh is a bit too enthusiastic; had Griffiths compromised a bit with his phonetic writing, it might be more readable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It rocks!
I picked this up by chance and it turned out to be the best novel I read in 2004. The books' real strength lies in its vivid characterisation; each section has a different narrator... Read more
Published on 2 Jan. 2005 by A. M. Bryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Mashed Potato
This book reminds you how good and bad drugs binges can get. It makes you want to get wrecked but at the same time reminds you of the dirty side, horrible comedowns, scatty... Read more
Published on 1 July 2004 by Music Man
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book now !
Niall Griffiths Grits is one of the best books I've ever read ,the characters seem too real for this book not to be based on real life experience . Read more
Published on 15 July 2003 by "jamiemojo"
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely fantastic account of modern disillusionment.
To compare this book to Trainspotting is not to give it the justice that it deserves.
Strong characters with a dynamic writing style combine to make this the best piece of... Read more
Published on 20 July 2001 by
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
This book really pulls you in. In much the same tradition as Trainspotting Griffiths pulls you down even further and deeper into the underbelly of his addict's lives. Read more
Published on 3 Jun. 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
This book really pulls you in. In much the same tradition as Trainspotting Griffiths pulls you down even further and deeper into the underbelly of his addict's lives. Read more
Published on 3 Jun. 2001
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