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The Long Dry Paperback – Special Edition, 16 Jul 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 119 pages
  • Publisher: Parthian; 2nd edition (16 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905762585
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905762583
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 620,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cynan Jones was born in Wales in 1975.

His first novel 'The Long Dry' (2006) won a Society of Authors Betty Trask award and has since been translated into numerous languages.

His second book 'Everything I Found on the Beach' was published by Parthian in June 2011.

Both books will be re-released in July '14 by Granta, working in partnership with Parthian.

His latest novel is 'The Dig', a chapter of which was shortlisted for the 2013 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award.

He is also author of 'Bird, Blood, Snow', a re-telling of the Medieval Peredur tale, written as one of Seren's 'New Stories from the Mabinogion.'

For updates and news, visit www.cynanjones.net


Product Description

Review

"The best book I've read this year" Andrew Davies --Andrew Davies

"Jones' first novel takes place over the course of a hot summer day on a cattle farm somewhere in rural Wales. From a simple plot Gareth, a farmer, searches for a missing calving cow a series of interactions and accidents emerges to shape the lives of the farmer s family, his neighbours, and the domestic animals and wildlife coexisting in this landscape steeped in history. As in William Faulkner s most moving work, Jones seemingly surveys the whole of existence by describing the humblest details of life on this postage-stamp of unnamed Welsh soil; the sound of machinery in the distance, the flight of damselflies, digging a grave in hard ground. The relentless heat and drought express the thirsts literal, emotional, and spiritual that oppress this landscape and its inhabitants. In this wounded place, tragedy is persistent and immanent. Jones suggests, however, that redemption, fulfillment, and peace, though infrequent as a summer rain, are as inevitable as the sunrise. Winner of the 2007 Betty Trask Award, this is a powerful and highly recommended debut." J.G.Matthews, Washington State Univ., Pullman --Library Journal US

"A wee wonderful book" Niall Griffiths --Niall Griffiths

"Cynan Jones's lovely, poignant short novel The Long Dry (Parthian Books) is set in coastal west Wales. The action is confined to a single day near the end of parched summer, in which a calving cow wanders off from its herd and must be tracked down by its farmer, Gareth. This makes the book sound rather mundane, but there is nothing mundane about it. Its focus is on the interior lives of its characters - Gareth himself, his troubled wife Kate, his teenage son, his young daughter, Emmy - and its themes are weighty ones: loss, decay, ambition and disappointment, the pull of the land and the hardness of living on it. This is not a novel that encourages tourism. Gareth has the farmer's disdain both for visitors, who think the country is a "park", and for incomers, who mispronounce Welsh words and let their dogs run wild in the fields. But Jones's sense of place is acute, and his passion for the landscape - for its colours, its creatures, its textures, its scents - is absolutely magnetic. The book is an especially resonant one for me: though set in Ceredigion it conjures up the exact feel of my home county, neighbouring Pembrokeshire, with its dusty summer lanes, its flower-crowded hedges, its sweeping vistas of pasture and ploughland - "and the sea before you," as Jones puts it, "silk and blue above a line of thick gorse, bursting into yellow". Sarah Waters, The Guardian --The Guardian
--Niall Griffiths

Cynan Jones's lovely, poignant short novel The Long Dry (Parthian Books) is set in coastal west Wales. The action is confined to a single day near the end of parched summer, in which a calving cow wanders off from its herd and must be tracked down by its farmer, Gareth. This makes the book sound rather mundane, but there is nothing mundane about it. Its focus is on the interior lives of its characters - Gareth himself, his troubled wife Kate, his teenage son, his young daughter, Emmy - and its themes are weighty ones: loss, decay, ambition and disappointment, the pull of the land and the hardness of living on it. This is not a novel that encourages tourism. Gareth has the farmer's disdain both for visitors, who think the country is a "park", and for incomers, who mispronounce Welsh words and let their dogs run wild in the fields. But Jones's sense of place is acute, and his passion for the landscape - for its colours, its creatures, its textures, its scents - is absolutely magnetic. The book is an especially resonant one for me: though set in Ceredigion it conjures up the exact feel of my home county, neighbouring Pembrokeshire, with its dusty summer lanes, its flower-crowded hedges, its sweeping vistas of pasture and ploughland - "and the sea before you," as Jones puts it, "silk and blue above a line of thick gorse, bursting into yellow". Sarah Waters, The Guardian --The Guardian

A wee wonderful book Niall Griffiths --Niall Griffiths

From the Publisher

Written in a blistering ten days, this is a novel about belonging and the land, and our ability to go through the things which try to break us. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Earthshaker on 2 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
Most fiction is written by townspeople: even when the author lives in the country, their perspective is often that of the holiday cottage, with the landscape as pretty stage dressing. The toil and physicality of life on the land is not often captured: Cynan Jones achieves that here. Tracking a middle-aged farmer through one day spent searching for his lost cow, harking back to existing family tensions and their history, and forward to a tragedy that will take place nine days hence, Jones distils the mixture of struggle with the land and attachment to it that dominates the farmer's life. It is a short, sparse, tightly restrained work, its characters moving largely silently through a landscape stunned by heat and drought but brought to life by vivid physical descriptions (for example, the moss and dampness of the wall below a leaking tap in the farmyard).

There are a few uncertainties: the timescale is not absolutely worked out, as the novel is clearly set in the present but the quoted memoirs of the central character's father seem too long ago for that (they are apparently based on those of the author's grandfather, which would be more convincing), and the tone wavers occasionally (the business with the ducks and their droppings belongs in a broader rural farce, a Welsh "Clochemerle" perhaps). These are minor issues, however.

This is a harsh book, unsparing in its depiction of the struggle to keep a farm running and the psychological toll it takes on its inhabitants; at times reminiscent of the struggles of peasant farmers in R.S. Thomas's poetry. A lot of the time, it isn't "fun" in the accepted sense: the family tragedy that is foreshadowed is particularly heartbreaking. It is very good, however, and most certainly deserves to be read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Deborah R. Barnes on 22 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a strange little book, I have to say, but it somehow grabbed my interest from the first paragraph, and kept it. It's quite harsh but also really quite mundane in what happens. I sort of felt it was a bit like being a fly sat on someone's shoulder seeing their life in all it's dullness, but it wasn't boring.

I particularly loved the description of the natural order of things in the little bit about the mole, the detail of how it's carcass was used. By contract, I found the scene with the rabbit quite disturbing. I felt the boy's fear & determination.

I would recommend this book. It's not very long, but definitely worth a read. I'll be looking out for more of Cynan Jones's work.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John A on 6 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
I often try to get into the work of highly-rated comtemporary authors, usually it a complete anti-climax. The main reason for this is that I feel that the only reason they wrote the book is that they have a talent for creative writing and just do it out of habit. Finding an honest and tough little book like this makes trawling through all the mediocre stuff worthwhile. The central theme of the book is mankind's general ability to keep going despite the troubles and even tragedies we have to contend with. Although occassionally shocking, this is not a depressing book; if the world is often mad and cruel then we have an in-built mad stubborness to carry us through in the hope of better times. Possibly there are a couple of easy targets for criticism here, if that is you're agenda; but I felt that the characters and author of this book made space for it to be a slightly idiosynchratic piece of work because it communicates to the reader so directly. Again possibly younger readers (under 25ish say) will not relate to this book, as in my experience these kind of troubles and responsibilities seem to press on us more in middle-age. This book does not offer any glimpse of a Utopia away from these everyday trials, but an act of creation can be a roundabout way of praising life in despite of everything.So overall although not the type of book I would want to read exclusively, if I only had to pick one book dealing with this subject I would have no qualms in having this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Wheeler on 9 Dec. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a gently-told rural tale with a melancholic air. Sadness runs through the story of a farming family struggling to survive life's vicissitudes. Interesting and accurate accounts of veterinary and botanical detail.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By GRBD on 9 Jan. 2007
Format: Paperback
Again touching on the deep connection between man and the land, Jones' first novel, written with a decidedly mournful quality, muses on the fractured relationships and the miscommunication that exists amongst those living in a close community. Having found that one of his cows was missing, Gareth sets out to track it down, only to find himself ruminating on the nature of his marriage and the ability of mankind to persevere in spite of everything. Bold and punctuated with some scintillating imagery, this is an excellent debut. Now I realise I sound like his publicity machine, but Jones' first stab at respectable ficion is very nearly flawless, some incidental and occasionally, I thought, inappropriate humour aside. It does give valuable insight into the plight of the farming communities in Wales, and little gems of typical Welshness!

I thouroughly recommend this to all and sundry!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kindleconvert on 17 Dec. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An unusual story, I enjoyed the format slipping seamlessly between character voices and places in time. In all a good read if sad in parts.
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