TAG Paperback – 30 Oct 2009
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"A compelling and very readable first novel... May has a fresh, new voice."
-- Sue Brickay - Bedfordshire on Sunday, November 6 2008
"Fast-moving and powerful... TAG is a special book fully deserving of its place on the Welsh Book of the Year list." -- walesonline.co.uk April 22 2009
"Very funny and politically resonant." -- Katie Popperwell, Manchester Evening News, Nov 11 2008
"Very funny and politically resonant."See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
There is quite a thrill in finding a new writer that you admire (tinged with just a hint of mild envy). TAG is May's debut novel, and quite simply it is stunning.
I'll freely admit, with a hint of shame, that I had some trepidation about reading a novel where the main protagonist was called Mistyann. Now I can happily sneer at my misguided prejudice. Mistyann is a wonderful piece of characterisation.
TAG [acronym for Talented and Gifted] tells the story of fifteen year old Mistyann, a troubled, unpredictable, foul-mouthed yet gifted child who is selected to attend a residential course for teen prodigies in mid-Wales. She is accompanied for the week by her acerbic forty-something teacher Jon Diamond, a frustrated musician and dried-out alcoholic. In the confined setting of the residential course their lives both unravel through a series of unfortunate events which are in turn both comedic and emotionally-charged.
May eschews a linear narrative, and structures his book with deft precision through a series of careful time shifts. He alternates the first person narration between the two main characters, creating utterly believable voices for each of them. He also makes clever use of second person narration with JD effectively addressing Mistyann as if writing her a confessional letter. I'm certain that much of the author's own voice is used for the character of JD, but his real skill is in creating such a rich and authentic voice for the moody and belligerent Mistyann. However May's palette is wider still and even his minor characters crackle with life and realism. By getting under their skins he has an uncanny knack of making you care about his characters and their back stories.Read more ›
Overall an excellent read and one I relish re-visiting one dark winter evening.
From the start May lets us know things are going to go wrong: we're just waiting to see how badly he could fall, or if it might all be a comedy of errors. We know Diamond has ended up in disgrace, so we're with him at every moment hoping that he won't do anything too drastic, and for a middle-aged man alone with a precocious teenager that's nerve-wracking. At forty-one, and almost good-looking with some sort of resemblance to Tom Cruise, he's obviously not of the right generation to be a friend to Mistyann. But he's a recovering alcoholic who could be stressed into taking a drink and he was also gifted in his youth, a musician who underachieved, so his empathy is with her rather than with the other staff. He's noncomformist enough to identify more with Mistyann than the system and the rules of behaviour that could protect them both.
The characters are drawn so vividly that readers will remember them as real people they watched through this darkly comic drama. It's not surprising to find that May is also a playwright, and he has obviously studied teenagers to create Mistyann and the others on the Talented and Gifted residential course.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of those stories that is clearly heading throughout towards catastrophe for the two narrators. Read morePublished on 26 Mar. 2014 by BookWorm
Recommended by a friend and I will be recommending to others. Having worked in education for years this book really made me laugh. Loved Mistyann - what a great character! Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2014 by MoiraB
Exciting, surprising, funny and a real find. This book looks like its going to be another story of a twisted romance between a teenage girl and an opportunistic older man. Read morePublished on 22 Feb. 2011 by janice roberts, Bedford
Upon first attempting to read TAG in my regular "last thing at night before I go to sleep" slot something jarred about the early chapters, so I reluctantly put it to one side and... Read morePublished on 20 Feb. 2010 by K. M. Knight
I loved it. Every page. What a fantastic story. Very powerful. A pleasure and an honour to be let into this world. Read morePublished on 16 Oct. 2009 by Rebecca Bagnall
If you like Iain Banks' good early stuff. If you like Jonathan Coe. If you like Catcher in the Rye. If you like pared down prose then you'll like Stephen May. Read morePublished on 8 Sept. 2009 by Welsh Book wizard
What a find! A brilliant exciting read. Our reading group chose this because it was on the shortlist for Welsh Bookof the Year. Read morePublished on 22 July 2009 by Megan McNair