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3.72  ·  Rating details ·  298 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
This is the story of Ianto: the feral, inarticulate, inbred, ignoble savage; haunter of mountains, killer of innocents. Ianto is a sheepshagger -- a yokel, a Welsh redneck. But Ianto is also a seer, a visionary -- the genius loci -- who comprehends nature with a Blakean intensity, and is at one with the world he lives in: the moss and lichen, the lamb and the raven, the s
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 6th 2002 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2001)
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Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-novels
This novel is a real kick in the stomach; bleak, visceral, intense, at once compelling and repulsive. A very uncomfortable book. The dialect is difficult to follow and the language very strong throughout. The violence is intermittent, very graphic and stomach churning. Trainspotting without the humour, although there are some funny and tragi-comic moments.
It is set in Wales and is the story of Ianto, a young man who has been brought up by his grandmother, but who has lost his birthright; an old
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Ianto is a misfit - jobless, homeless and drifting. His mother a long dead alcoholic and his father unknown. There are hints that the family's gene pool might be, shall we say, somewhat shallow. Brought up by his grandmother, she dies soon after they are evicted from their ancestral cottage, which is shortly thereafter bought by English incomers.

A bit of a loner, Ianto finds solace in getting drunk and stoned with a small band of friends, living from giro to giro. He is considered a bit of a sim
Jun 03, 2010 rated it liked it
I'll confess up front: I haven't read the whole of this. I skimmed it. It's disturbing and upsetting, and not something I want to be reading. Since I'm not likely to write about it in my essay, that's okay.

I do want to say some things about it, though. It's very powerful, and though I agree with one of the other reviewers that the descriptions of landscapes and such sometimes tip into being overdone, for the most part they're so amazingly rich and right on the nose.

The one reason I might end up
Carol Fenlon
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: december-2015
This is a real shocker. Not for the fainthearted but beautiful beautiful writing. Some might struggle to get through the stream of consciousness style and I did feel a little overpowered by the language at times but I was so emotionally gripped by the characters and the plot that there was no way I was going to put it down. If you are looking for romance and happy endings this is not the book for you, its a sharp hard dystopian vision of dispossessed Welsh youth, their lack of purpose set agains ...more
The last fifty pages of this were disturbing, to say the least. Almost vomit inducing, but very well written nonetheless. What hampers Sheepshagger is Griffiths's highly meticulous, verbose and pretentious descriptions of the natural landscape. Reading this became a chore at some stages, and I suspected that the author might be trying too hard to impress, or was just a tad self-conscious. It was very frustrating reading, and it wasn't uncommon for me to skip a few lines every now and then. Over ...more
Joey H.
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was the first book that I read because of Whichbook, a wonderful UK reader's advisory website. It was more or less what I expected because of the selections I made on Whichbook. It was appalling and disgusting and poetic all at the same time. Be warned: it is not for the squeamish. In fact, it might not even be for the sane. If you can make it past the part with the sheep and the raven and the toddler towards the beginning, chances are you can make it through the book without vomiting. I li ...more
Apr 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: my online friends, Liverpool fans (after watching yet another underwhelming performance)
Welsh people running amok, with the help of jump cut scenes and cool dialects. The main guy shares his name with a character in Torchwood. Bloody miserable all around and yet very readable, especially if you're already feeling despondent and want a reason to feel worse.
Highly recommended to be read with a glass of strong alcohol by your side and, ideally, on a hot summer day.
Fia Eamónn Wåhlin
An Amazing novel about a boy Ianto who is robbed of his family and country left broken, alone and disturbed.
it is not a happy book but oh my goodness, it is quite brilliant.
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not quite sure what I think of Griffiths' Sheepshagger (although it was a great title to ask for when ordering at the local bookshop). It's a down to earth, expletive-laden conversation between mates at a pub; a prose description of events, full of harsh human realities, in a literary, descriptive style; and a poetical, italics ode to nature and memory, that all builds up to the story of Ianto. A friend, a lost boy, a victim, a murderer. The thickness of the the descriptive prose can be daun ...more
Aug 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one brings out the Welsh in me. Sheepshagger is the derogatory English term for the Welsh. And, after reading this novel, I need to make sure I don't come into contact with any lads with plummy English accent or wearing All England t-shirts any time soon. At the center of this story is Ianto and his rage at the loss of his home to the English tourists who continue to buy up the Welsh country side. But Ianto's homelessness at the hand of the English goes deeper for he has been make to feel l ...more
Jan 04, 2013 added it
Shelves: favorites
It's a pity Niall Griffiths doesn't have a larger amount of followers, but then again -I don't think he gives a shit. He's the type of author who writes for himself and if anyone likes it then that's great and if they don't well that's great too. This book is haunting, crude, and unmeasurably beautiful in the way that it is conveyed. His prose is both sharp and poetic, switching between 3rd person omniscient to first person.

"And I like it when I look in the mirror of a lake and see the ends of m
Paul Blakemore
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Whilst I've no doubt that is a worthy literary book, I can't say I enjoyed it on any level. It's just too graphic, too bleak, too upsetting.

It describes the utter depravity of man and the basic savagery of nature in a unsettling variety of styles: when it is not bring empirically precise about the hideous violence in the book, it is being fiercely poetic about the wilderness of the Welsh countryside. And for me, the bizarre Romanticism that runs through the book seems slightly overwrought.

The e
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
"Portrait of psychopathy embodied as a young man"

I would recommend it to anyone with not-a-faint-heart. May come across as grotesque, visceral, too real. On top of coming across as all these, it felt poetic to me.
A powerful prose, revealing, down-to-earth conversations, and an earth-shattering finale, despite the writer telling you for a hundred pages of its coming.
There are some issues that bugged me, which may have been deliberate. It's hard to keep track of what the writer is saying, one mome
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a glimpse of this novel a couple of years ago on Introduction to Literature course at the Uni, and I finally managed to read the whole thing. Definitely worth reading.

This novel unfolds in three separate strands, that deal with the main character Ianto's childhood, the 'main events' of the novel, and his friends reminiscing later about it.

What I like most is the stark contrast between pretty much everything, from the poetic details of the landscape and the profanity-filled ruminations of I
Roger Boyle
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I hugely enjoyed this. it's exceptionally well written and far form obvious.

To what extent I was coloured by recognising so many of the places he mentions, and perhaps rather more of the people than I would like to admit, is uncertain - perhaps the impartial reader would find it less enthralling.

He captures wasted young years and behaviour very well - so much that you can begin to sympathise with their terrible behaviour. the poignant history of Wales also emerges, albeit obliquely.

I know why he
Janine Southard
I'm on a Welsh literature kick right now, and I've adored Griffiths' short stories. But I had too much trouble with the format of this book.

Chapter 1: All dialogue. (Could be cool, but I can't figure out how many people are speaking.)
Chapter 2: Entirely in italics.
Chapter 3: See chapter 1.
Chapter 4: I gave up. Much sadness ensued.

Not rated because it might be good if you can read it. Or it might not. I really have no clue.
John Weller
Oct 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Angela
Recommended to John by: Kirsten
Hmm. Not sure what to make of this one. Lots of drink, drugs and violence all set in Wales against the backdrop of English yuppies buying up cottages. Boy, aren't you embarrassed to be English sometimes.

Anyway, this one isn't gonna get featured at some white, poncey book group. If you like your literature a bit rough and your characters a bit twisted and down to earth...

Great descriptions of the Welsh landscape and weather.
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mondolibri
Allucinante, brutale violento ed allo stesso tempo dolce e triste. Queste sono le emozioni contrastanti che Ianto, il nome del libro in it., suscita.
Comunque un importantissima scoperta quella di Niall Griffiths. Sicuramente da approfondire.
Infine, ancora una volta resto basito che tali piccoli grandi gioielli di letteratura, siano quasi del tutto sconosciuta ai più, tanto da non trovarne l'edizione italiana anche qui su Goodreads. Mah..
Benedetta Marinetti
Ho DOVUTO finirlo. Per la violenza che trasuda e perché, sotto, lo so, dietro spesso ad un pazzo malato c'è una violenza subita prima che esploda verso terzi.
Ho DOVUTO finirlo come non smetterò di vomitare facilmente ora che ho letto quello che cercavo.
Tutto ciò non giustifica, è vero, soprattutto perché chi non sa non saprà mai cosa è successo a Ianto prima che diventasse... Oddio.
Una lettura SOLO per uno stomaco forte e con molti strati di pelo.
Michael Jones
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Poor little Ianto, like. This is right up there on my list of the best books I've read; it is dark - very, very dark. The sections of dialogue provide some good laughs and everything in between is...well, his writing makes the characters and events seem so real that I'm starting to wonder how much of it is actually made up! Sobering stuff.

If you like Irvine Welsh, I think you'll like Niall Griffiths. I've already ordered Grits - can't wait.
Nov 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-but-unowned
Long lyrical passages which, although sometimes overwrought, capture the mid / west-Wales environment perfectly. Bursts of razor sharp vernacular dialogue. On Wales, this novel is near-perfect. But the drawing of the central character seems simplistic, psychologically. It's a fun read but not a lot of nuance, in the end.
Erittäin epämiellyttävä kirja. Kammottavia väkivalta kuvauksia, jatkuvaa päihteiden käytön kuvausta, alimpaa alatyyliä olevia keskusteluja. Toisaalta hienoa luontokuvausta ja oivaltavaa tarinan kerrontaa. Kaikessa ällöttävyydessään ihan luettava teos.
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Ianto is a haunting protagonist and a character that has stayed with me ever since I first read Sheepshagger a few years ago. Griffith's writing in this novel is nothing short of amazing, I was torn between disgust and an almost overwhelming love through the entire novel.
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is an obvious work of genius but it's hard going. It's gritty, really gritty. And perhaps slightly creepy. If you want to be made uncomfortable for 98% of the book this one is for you. Otherwise put it down and walk away slowly.
Mieka Farrell
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is violent, but amazing. It is heartbreaking, and full of scenes that many might find disturbing. At the same time, it is brilliantly written, and keeps you aching the entire time you read it.
Ana Rose
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A hard read, it was a bit like homework reading it, I enjoyed it more as it went on. Being from the same area of Wales i found the portrayal of the welsh party scene interesting. I didn't feel like there was much characters development .
Maybe a little disturbing for some readers, but what a picture of Wales. Perhaps not a picture of Wales, and in particular Aberystwyth that I have any experience of, but a valid one none the less.
My love for Welsh literature just grows and grows.
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
my love for all things wales started here with niall griffiths. about a country lad fighting back against modernity. guess who wins?
Sep 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who thought trainspotting was intense
It helps to know a bit about Welsh opinion on Margaret Thatcher before you read this. An outstanding work on a lost generation, macabre, twisted, disturbing, magnificent.
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“Ianto lying on his back in the bog. Snake-silent and lizard-still.” 1 likes
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