Book Of The Week, 23rd August 2021

Cynan Jones: The Long Dry Granta, 2006. PB, £8.99.

Conan Jones, The long dry

„The world, he thinks, is filled with such unbelievable small heroisms, which to him have always seemed far more remarkable than the huge heroisms, of history. Somehow, we find the strength, he thinks”.
And strength our protagonist has to find in Jones‘ debut novel.

Waking up early to check the cattle. Gareth notices that one of the calving cows is missing and sets off to find her before the sun gets too strong. What follows is a search through memory and anxiety about losing what he has as Gareth walks the land looking for the missing cow. The day unfolds, and the cow’s behaviour emerges as a metaphor for the relationship between Gareth and his wife Kate as they stumble on desperately in their changing care for each other. Only the reader is aware of the tragedy that awaits the family a few days down the line, throwing the story into shadow with a terrible poignancy.

Simple, beautiful, powerful, and devastating, a must read.