Linda Rollins's Reviews > The Coward's Tale: A Novel

The Coward's Tale by Vanessa Gebbie
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's review
Oct 30, 2011

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Read in October, 2011

A Welsh mining town suffers a tragic accident many years previously and this story follows the descendants of those involved and how their lives are still impacted, down the generations, by the tragedy. Ianto Passchendale Jenkins is the town beggar and storyteller who spends his time recounting tales around the people of the town, their families and how they became who they are today.
The story is relatively slow-paced where nothing much happens except for the back-stories of the people.
I couldn't help reading this book with a bit of a Welsh lilt - I think it's necessary. The writing is quite a work of art - beautiful in describing the mundane, so clever. I did find the use of the present tense quite tiring to read. However, reading the book felt like stroking petals on a delicate flower - the words so fragile, yet able to describe people and situations so powerfully.
The writing is very pretty and prosaic, but it does mean that it takes a long time to say not very much.
Overall, though, a well-crafted and unusual read.

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