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The Redemption of Galen Pike

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  661 ratings  ·  147 reviews
In a remote Australian settlement a young wife with an untellable secret reluctantly invites her neighbour into her home. A Quaker spinster offers companionship to a condemned man in a Colorado jail. In the ice and snows of Siberia an office employee from Birmingham witnesses a scene that will change her life. At a jubilee celebration in a northern English town a middle-ag ...more
Paperback, 134 pages
Published October 15th 2014 by Salt Publishing
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  661 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Hannah Greendale
Davies specializes in an economy of words, and there are glimpses here of the quality writing that brings her latest book, West, to life with engrossing immediacy. The crowning achievement of this short story collection is 'The Quiet,' an unsuspecting narrative with a chilling conclusion. The book's titular story, 'The Redemption of Galen Pike,' offers a satisfying payoff, and 'Sibyl' is good for a chuckle. Unfortunately, the remaining stories are too elusive or ineffectual to garner much enjoym ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
"She's buried under the beets."

That was the moment, that line in the first story, where I knew I would love this book. Every story memorable for a different reason, in a slim volume. I am so grateful for whoever in my book swap first picked this book to send! (Now that we're at the end of our cycle, I'm allowed to post about it.)
Diane Barnes
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow! That's the most appropriate comment for this book of short stories. Whether a story is a just a page or two in length, or longer, in one instance just two paragraphs, no matter; it packs a wallop. Each story straddles the fine line between fairy tale and reality, each one surprises us, every one hits you between the eyes with something you never saw coming. The common thread is loneliness, and the beauty and heartbreak of people trying to endure, then reaching out for .....something. Or som ...more
Joachim Stoop
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it

More than half of the stories were perfect examples of why the genre of short stories exist: in this case, not as 'shrunken to their essence novels' , but as small, perfectly finished tales that wouldn't work in bigger stories. Lot's of surprises, twists, hard knocking endings.

If it weren't for a minority of stories that grabbed me less, it would've received a cum laude score.
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it

“The Redemption of Galen Pike” is a 148-page collection of 17 short stories, each of which packs a punch. It is the 2015 Winner of the Frank O' Connor International Short Story Award and winner of the 2011 V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize.

A short story is an exceedingly difficult literary undertaking and it is remarkable that Carys Davies succeeded in making each story memorable. I am amazed at how unfailingly each story builds up to an unexpected ending. Davies' prose is spare but lovely.

The stor
Book Riot Community
This is a slim collection of stories but oh it be mighty! Each story is a gem, a wildly imaginative look at the hardships and beauty of life. Davies infuses each interesting tale with raw emotion and observations as her characters grapple with the unpredictability of the world. A man shares a story with Queen Victoria; a teenage girl runs away from home; a woman has a visit from her new neighbor; a famous writer gets a new bonnet. No matter what the tale, this collection is filled with unique vi ...more
... And BOOM.
Davies goes for the big twists and reveals at the end.
Some in this collection were brilliant and well done, others lost my interest pretty fast, but overall, this was a great collection.

Many of the stories are only a few pages; in that short time, Davies manages to create a solid mood and scene.

"The Quiet"
"The Travellers"
"Redemption of Galen Pike"
"Nothing Like My Nightmare"
Manda Chittles
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have been reading these short stories on the train in the mornings and find that they follow me around for the rest of the day.Each story is so different but still manages to build suspense and leave you hanging to see how it ends. There are some real gems in here! My favourites are the title story, The Quiet, Creed and The Travellers.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs-edelweiss
Each story in this short story collection is tightly written & tightly wound with Gone Girlesque-like twists and endings that the reader will grow to anticipate yet will continue to be surprised by as they're revealed.
I desperately want all of my friends to read this book so that we may discuss the impressiveness of how much is said & conveyed in so few words.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Holy. Shit. And I typically don't like short stories. I had to order this from the UK and oh man was it worth the wait...
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
Most of these stories were delightfully twisted. Carys Davies loves to pull the rug out from under your narrative expectations. If jaw-dropping embarrasses you, my advice would be not to read these stories in public. A few of them that included historical personages - Queen Victoria, etc. - or were set amid real life events - 9-11 - fell flat for me, as if reality constrained Davies' zany imagination. But wow, the bulk of these are just stunning!
Josh Ang
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Once in a long while a short story collection comes out of the blue and smites you so hard you can’t help but fall completely under its spell. The Redemption of Galen Pike is one such precious find. Carys Davies displays surprising range and depth, and each story is unique in setting and characters, and they are all as engaging as they are shocking. In the first story, “The Quiet”, a young beautiful wife who moves to a quiet and isolated part of a rural community receives unwanted attention from ...more
Samuel Bigglesworth
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you want to read only the very best stories, that are written excellently, then I would recommend giving these a try. Very beautiful and subtly written, Carys manages to create a whole world and ambience in just a few paragraphs. Her prose isn't overly floral and descriptive, every word is picked carefully for maximum effect.

I feel bad not giving it 5 stars, but at 130 pages, I would have liked to see a few more of the longer type stories to see it over 150 pages. I was disappointed the book
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed a lot of these stories. Some of them, I'm sure, are going to stay with me for a long time, either because the characters were so vivid or because the emotions evoked were so complex. Other stories I'll be discussing with some friends to try and make better sense of them. A few I didn't find quite as compelling.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
Finished: 25.06.2018
Genre: 17 short stories
Rating: C-
I only liked 2 stories: The Taking of Bunny Clay and Sybil.
2/ very low score IMO.
But read it.....and decide for yourself.

Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Brilliant narrative. Short stories with an unexpected twist. The quiet and The travellers were my favourites. A must-read.
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: welsh-authors
I've never been much of a fan of short stories. I can admire the skill needed to create compelling characters, evoke a sense of place and tell a well rounded story all within a few thousand words. But when I read a short story I always get to the end feeling I've been short changed; that I'm just getting into it only to find myself adrift.

But two recent collections have shown that maybe the problem is that I just hadn't found the right author.

I ordered The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davie
The first story in this collection “The Quiet” was compelling and memorable. Unfortunately, the rest of the collection didn’t have the same impact as that first story. I did enjoy “The Redemption of Galen Pike” as well as “Sibyl” but overall this collection didn’t work for me.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Each short story in this book is a bite-sized piece of brilliance. One by one, each its own separate world, the stories here made me think, opened my mind, revealed more questions, and offered no simple answers.

There is a pure precision in the way Davies writes, and it concerns me that readers might have a tendency to call her writing simple. It's not simple. It's masterful. She carves away anything unnecessary and leaves only what the reader can make use of -- the story has the exact amount of
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
There's a ton of hype behind this book, but I'm sorry--I can't help but resist the old-fashioned O. Henry twist that nearly every story ends on. One story, "The Coat," had two.

Perhaps it's because I just finished Atwood's Dancing Girls, where every story involves layer after layer of emotional ambivalence, nothing is ever resolved, and the story ends by opening up rather than closing down.

The writing is solid (and sometimes really funny), but Davies seems to me a plot-writer more than a charac
Tyler Jones
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A very strong collection of stories, a few of which absolutely floored me. Davies has a style all her own, yet I was put in mind of a wide range of other authors in which she shares a certain family resemblance. O. Henry, Etgar Keret and George Saunders all do some of what she does, but what she might do best of all is springing a twist on the reader that not only has force for its surprise but for the way it makes you reinterpret everything that happened before it. Julian Barnes is also a maste ...more
Tammy Parks
A very interesting collection of short stories, some only a few pages long. Although never specified, they appear to be mostly set at the turn of the century in far-ranging locales (England, France, Siberia, the American West), and are about seemingly ordinary people, revealing their vulnerabilities to other "ordinary" people. Davies' writing style is deceptively simple and straightforward, old-fashioned even. Yet, each story ends with an unexpected twist, sometimes rather shocking, that packs a ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book jacket says Davies is a mix of Twain and Annie Proulx - I think more like Flannery O’Connor and Roddy Doyle, although what author is a hybrid of two others anyway?! Several of these stories will be staying with me, maybe always, and I have no higher praise.
Karen Brown
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional collection of short stories. Picked this up at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco after a recommendation by fellow Readers Retreat participant, Shirley, and Simon Savidge of The Readers podcast (Simon's book blurb included in the paperback edition)! Thoroughly enjoyed Carys Davies' direct writing style and was impressed with her ability to build tension and take these stories in an unexpected direction. I purposefully dipped in and out of the collection in order to extend my read ...more
Mitch Karunaratne
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Some of these stories are spectacular - they're twisted, dark, passionate, surprising and a touch weird. Characters are enveloped by the landscapes they inhabit. A queen and a literary icon make an appearance, we move across time zone, histories - just to add to the unsettling nature of these stories! They're short, but mighty!
Marjie C-O
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Short stories, spare and extraordinary - in the purest sense of the word. Compelling vignettes in the flavor of a series of rustic Twilight Zone episodes, each with an ending twist, taking the reader somewhere completely unexpected. A dark and wholly unique read.
4.5 stars
May 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
review of the short story: "The Quiet"
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
3.5 stars - I liked these strange stories, often set in a kind of generic past, 19th century/early 20th it often feels, but then the writer will confound you - for example there's one set in the icy wastes of Russia, with troikas and frozen horses and rough inns, but then mentions junction 26 on the M6 outside Manchester. Another is about the Queen's Jubilee, and it sounds like it could be Victoria rather than Elizabeth, with talk of the Empire and Town Clerks, but then the lesbian relationship ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read_harder_2017
This book demands to be read twice.
His name was Henry Fowler and she hated it when he came, p.1 from "The Quiet".
Carys Davies’ short stories are twisty, slippery tales that will leave you feeling surprised, shocked, and befuddled. Spanning time and location these stories are about regular people living ordinary lives revealed from an angle rarely examined.

What Dazzled: How is it possible to write what feels like a complete story in a couple of pages? Sorcery I tell you!!! Seriously
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Carys Davies is the author of a novel, West, which was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, runner-up for the McKitterick Prize, and winner of the Wales Book of the Year for Fiction. She is also the author of two collections of short stories, Some New Ambush and The Redemption of Galen Pike, which won the 2015 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the 2015 Jerwood Fiction Uncove ...more

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