3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Vision of Love and Innocence.,
This review is from: The Coward's Tale (Hardcover)
This is a warm, witty and, most of all, humane novel. A detailed portrait of a fictional - or rather, in a strict usage, mythical - town in the Welsh Valleys, built out of a series of linked stories told by the village bard, a beggar, a toothless rather than eyeless Homer, who is also a participant (his is "the coward's tale").
It has been compared with Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood, inevitably, given the Welsh setting, but is just as closely connected to the Canterbury Tales. But both comparisons are, although justified, ultimately misleading. Vanessa Gebbie has her own voice, her own style, her own approach.
The most useful analogy in describing the power and appeal of the novel would be with not another writer but an artist - Stanley Spencer. Gebbie does for the Welsh Valleys what Spencer did for Cookham: raising the particular into a timeless, universal vision of love and, ultimately, innocence.