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on 25 November 2014
After seeing such mixed reviews for this book I couldn't bear not to write one of my own to balance them out. The problem some people seem to have with Deborah Kay Davies' writing is the shock-factor many of her stories contain. To these people I say: if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. If you have a delicate disposition, or take offence easily, this book is not for you. If, however, you are looking for something fresh and electrifying, something that makes you see the world anew, then I can't recommend this enough. Davies herself has said she enjoys writing "nasty" stories, and that is exactly what the vignettes in Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful are. Sisterly rivalry is the central theme and it manifests in some incredibly brutal ways. Yet, despite this, the main impression I took away from this collection was one of beauty. Originally a poet, Davies' writing is illuminating and completely addictive. For my money, the author has a gift for description almost unparalleled in contemporary British lit, and as an English undergraduate, I don't say that lightly.

So please ignore the negative reviews. If you have the stomach for it and want something raw and perceptive and totally compelling, then Deborah Kay Davies' writing is it.
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on 19 August 2009
I bought this book as it was recommended through the Welsh Books Council where I have received other excellent recommendations. It is a little book that packs a punch. The writing style reminded me slighty of the Scottish writer Kirsty Gunn (whose work was recommended to me by a fellow participant on a Dark Angels writing course based on John Simmons book of the same name Dark Angels: How Writing Releases Creativity at Work). In fact it also made me think of things we did on that course on writing with constraints. It would be interesting to know how Deborah Kay Davies developed the style for these stories that come together in an excellent book.
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on 1 April 2009
This collection is written with painful brilliance. I picked it up having seen Deborah's work in the John Rhys Davies collection and I was astounded by her skill and brutal honesty in weaving these stories together.

With each glimpse of the sister's life you really pieced together a whole story in your own mind, I felt a real sense of ownership over the family; I cared, I was shocked and couldn't finish one short story without being compelled to turn the page and start the next. Really beautiful work.
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on 3 February 2009
I'm not usually a fan of short stories but this collection gripped me from the start. The stories weave together to paint a dramatic picture of family life, especially the tormented relationship between two sisters. All the stories revolve around Grace & Tamar; just a brief appearance from Laszlo the Beautiful. Powerful imagery, vivid descriptions & some quite shocking passages. Why not five stars? Perhaps it was the story featuring the basset hound. Looking forward to Deborah Kay Davies' first novel.
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on 27 October 2011
I try not to give reviews to the multitude of rubbish I encounter in Welsh writing as I'd be here all day but what gets me is how this book won 'Wales Book of the Year'? I could write about why this book is so bad, it's short, has no story, no purpose, no deeper meaning the list would go on but I can't be bothered. It's well written perhaps, like an English teacher might do? A shame some of Wales' other writers don't get as much recognition. There are many great writers in Wales but unfortunately you need to look beyond the arts council gravy train riders.
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on 11 March 2010
I purchased this book from Amazon as it was on a Reading Group book list. All the members of the group found it very disturbing and we all wished we hadn't bothered. Though the writing style was good the content read as if the author had some sort of mental or behavioural problem and was trying to seek redemption through her writing.The detail was unecessary and very distasteful and in some cases downright ridiculous. We wouldn't advise anyone to read this book and felt it was not worthy even to be given away - the best place for it was the dustbin!
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on 14 March 2010
I did not enjoy this book at all; the author has a good command of language but this makes it all the more disappointing that she has chosen to write such an unpleasant book
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