The Ugliest House in the World: Stories

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9780395924808: The Ugliest House in the World: Stories
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Peter Ho Davies is a young writer of unusually worldly perspective. Born in Britain to Welsh and Chinese parents, he writes stories that not only reflect his multinational heritage, but delight in odd juxtapositions. In tales that travel from Coventry to Kuala Lumpur, from the past to the present, and from hilarity to tragedy, American bandits herd ostriches in Patagonia, British soldiers confront Zulus in Natal, and John Wayne leads the way for local revolutionaries in Southeast Asia. These are stories in which small lives are affected by consequential events. In "A Union," a prolonged strike at a Welsh slate quarry plays mystifying tricks of time on a couple expecting a baby. In "The Silver Screen," ragtag rebels join a communist revolution with all the flair of the Keystone Kops. In the heartbreaking title story, a rural community in North Wales copes with the accidental death of a child and learns the reaches of guilt. With their deep vein of humanism and pointed humor, the stories

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About the Author:

PETER HO DAVIES is on the faculty of the graduate program in creative writing at the University of Michigan. His debut collection, The Ugliest House in the World, won the John Llewellyn Rhys and PEN/Macmillan awards in Britain. His second collection, Equal Love, was hailed by the New York Times Book Review for its “stories as deep and clear as myth.” It was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a New York Times Notable Book. In 2003 Davies was named among the “Best of Young British Novelists” by Granta. The Welsh Girl was his first novel and his second, The Fortunes, was published in September 2016. The son of a Welsh father and Chinese mother, Davies was raised in England and spent his summers in Wales.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A debut collection of short fictions, ingenious, moving, and exasperating in turn. At his best, as in the title story about the way in which a child's death polarizes a Welsh village, Davies exhibits a sharp, unblinking, persuasive view of human nature, as well as a deft hand at plotting: The deceptively quiet tale, somewhat distanced in its effect by the rather prissy voice of the narrator, builds to a moving climax and a haunting final image. Davies often demonstrates an uncanny ability for suggesting the outlines of character in speech: The narrator of the story, a physician and the son of the man blamed for the child's accidental death, is very convincing precisely because he seems so wilfully insensitive to the events that he's describing. The reader has to work to puzzle out what really has happened, and the labor is well rewarded. ``A Union,'' a novella tracing the course of a strike in Welsh village in 1899, rings some unusual changes on a subject often reserved for melodramas. Davies is particularly good at catching the mingled affection and resentment shaping village life, and at suggesting the ways in which events can overtake even the most cannily arranged plans. Davies also has a clear affection for these characters, a quality not noticeable in some of the other stories, including the aggressively postmodern ``Relief'' and ``Safe.'' The first deals with the survivors of the battle of Rorke's Drift, in which a Welsh company repulsed the attack of a Zulu army in South Africa. It dwells largely on flatulence, in what is meant to be a send-up of colonial icons, but the irony falls rather flat. ``Safe,'' about the hapless adventures of an aging Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, has little new to suggest about the pair and seems rather wearily referential, more concerned with the duo as hazy icons than as actual characters. Still, overall, there's sufficient energy and originality here to suggest that Davies is a writer well worth watching. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description HOUGHTON MIFFLIN, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. None.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Born in Britain to Welsh and Chinese parents, Peter Ho Davies writes stories that not only reflect his multinational heritage but delight in their own odd juxtapositions. Moving fluidly from the present to the past, from Coventry to Kuala Lumpur, from moral seriousness to broad comedy, these varied tales are united by an elegant intelligence, a sly sense of humor, and a deeply humanistic feeling for the mystery and grace of inner lives. In the heartbreaking title story, a rural community in North Wales copes with a child s death and learns the reach of guilt. The Silver Screen follows the fortunes of a group of ragtag rebels in Malaya whose hapless effort to join a communist uprising plays like an outtake from the Keystone Kops. In the collection s central novella, A Union, a slate miner laid off during a prolonged strike struggles with the complex strains on his marriage. Consequential events touch all these affecting characters in ways both surprising and profound. Seller Inventory # APC9780395924808

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