Perspicacity is a prerequisite for someone "learning to be an International Spy", and it is a quality that Enid is keen to hone. Set in 1970s Cardiff, Azzopardi's reinvention of "Geraint, son of Erbin", a tale from the Mabinogion (two 14th-century manuscripts collating an earlier oral tradition) is a deceptively simple story of loss with an irrepressible little girl at its heart. When her mother dies, Enid's father sinks into a "Brown Dudgeon" and farms her off to the Erbins, wealthy relatives whose son, Geraint, is Enid's "Nemesis" and a decided "Waste of Space". The Erbins may present the perfect picture of respectability, but Aunty Celia dusts the drinks cabinet with suspicious frequency, while Uncle Horace practically exhorts her to have an affair and Geraint masturbates furiously in his bedroom. Although an acute observer, Enid's perspective is that of a child and there are certain nuances about those around her that don't quite register. While there is comedy in this, Azzopardi also conveys the vastness of a grief that Enid, with her voice "which cannot be silenced", is unable to either fully comprehend or articulate. - Anna Scott, The Guardian The romance of Geraint, an Arthurian knight, and Enid, a beautiful maiden, is one of the eleven tales that comprise the Welsh Mabinogion, a collection of legends, myths and folktales dating back to medieval times. In Cardiff-born Trezza Azzopardi's 1970s-set re-imagining, however, Geraint is a posh pubescent wannabe punk and Enid his council-house dwelling seven-year-old cousin. With the death of Enid's hippyish mother, Geraint and Enid are thrown together, but while the former is busy ripping his clothes and safety-pinning his cheeks, the latter is as determined as ever to achieve her aim of becoming a Russian-speaking spy (if not Wonderwoman). The power of the female voice is, as Azzopardi explains in an afterword, one of the themes connecting her tale with its source, and the ingenuity of her adaptation is admirable. But it's a joy in its own right too: deftly executed, funny and affecting. - The Daily Mail
About the Author
Trezza Azzopardi was born in Cardiff to a Maltese father and a Welsh Mother. She studied creative writing at the University of East Anglia and is currently a lecturer there. Her First novel, 'The Hiding Place" (2000), is the story of a Maltese family living in Cardiff during the 1960s. It won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize for Fiction and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction). The book was also adapted for Radio 4's 'Book at Bedtime' and has been translated in to 14 languages. Her second novel, 'Remember Me' (2004), centres on 72-year-old Lilian (also known as Winnie), a homeless woman, in search of her stolen possessions and her troubled past. Her most recent novel is 'The Song House' (2010).