He leaves the mountains and climbs down to the coast, one foot pulled after the other, not using the lanes but crossing the fields, pushing through clumps of sheep or cattle, once outrunning a bull, squeezing himself into hedges to sleep. In the darkness he feels the slope flattening, and an hour later he's on sand again. He hates the feel of it, the yielding.
As that kind of detail builds around the lives of these very sympathetic characters people sucked into the anonymous cruelties of history this novel becomes an unforgettable picture of a place and a time.
Peter Ho Davies reads from The Welsh Girl at Shaman Drum Bookshop on Thursday, February 15.
[Review published February 2007]