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The Coward's Tale Hardcover – 7 Nov 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; First Edition edition (7 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408821567
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408821565
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,358,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


My novel of the year ... an extraordinarily lyrical, moving, funny evocation of a Welsh mining town and its inhabitants ... A terrific achievement (A.N. Wilson Financial Times BOOK OF THE YEAR)

This first novel is a gem ... A comparison might be made with Under Milk Wood - but even though I'm a Dylan Thomas fan, for me, Gebbie's understated anatomy of a Welsh town outsoars him. It's less whimsical, and at its heart is a gritty awareness of what's happened to this former mining community in the 21st century - with the interlocking tales building up into a poignant, unforgettable picture. This is a real writer - you'll be hearing a lot more of her (Reader's Digest)

Gebbie's prose has something of the musical rhythm and cadence of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood. The lilting dialect is seductive and the poetic sweep through a town and its folk reminiscent of Jon McGregor's masterpiece, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. The poetry is unobtrusive but makes the characters live and breathe ... heartbreaking ... a hypnotic debut (Independent)

The unlikely but entirely legitimate child of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Dylan Thomas, The Coward's Tale invests everyday life with a quality at once whimsical and heroic (Charles Lambert)

Tender and gripping - a brilliantly written epic (Maggie Gee)

A rich seam of fables conjuring a community bound together by tragedy and secrets. Everyone knows something about someone but only one man knows everything about everyone. The Coward's own tale is the bravest of all (Damian Barr)

Compulsively readable. She writes with such warmth and kindness (Mari Strachan, author of The Earth Hums in B Flat)

Gebbie's voice catches Thomas's lyricism ... But it is Ianto's own history, tragically entangled with the colliery disaster which devastated the town two generations previously, that proves the most spellbinding (Guardian)

An absorbing portrait of love, grief and humanity ... Gebbie's first full-length novel is richly poetic, its landscape steeped in the Welsh landscape and the texture of the rain-washed street (Psychologies)

The Coward's Tale is a Russian doll of a book, layers within layers, histories, ghosts, superstitions and secrets. It shines a light through the material of human nature, our successes and failings, strengths and weaknesses, pride and vanity and love ... Timeless. Storytelling at its best (Salena Godden)

Book Description

A dazzling first novel about kinship and kindness, guilt and atonement, and the ways in which we carve the present out of an unforgiving past

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