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Mari supplements her modest trade as a market stall holder with the wares she acquires from clearing the houses of the dead. She lives alone in a tiny cottage by the shore, apart from a monkey that she keeps in a cage, surrounding herself with the lives of others, combing through letters she has gleaned, putting up photographs of strangers on her small mantelpiece.
But Mari is looking for something beyond saleable goods for her stall. As she works on cutting a perfect emerald, she inches closer to a discovery that will transform her life and throw her relationships with old friends into relief. To move forward she must shed her life of things past and start again. How she does so is both surprising and shocking…
You can read an extract on the New Welsh Review website - which appeared in Issue 91 of New Welsh Review as a 'Vintage Gem'.
WALES BOOK OF THE MONTH OCTOBER 2019
AUTHOR: Caryl Lewis has published eleven Welsh-language books for adults, three novels for young adults and thirteen children’s books. Her novel Martha, Jac a Sianco (Y Lolfa, 2004), won Wales Book of the Year in 2005. Caryl wrote the script for a film based on Martha, Jac a Sianco, which won the Atlantis Prize at the 2009 Moondance Festival. Her television credits include adapting Welsh-language scripts for the acclaimed crime series Y Gwyll / Hinterland.
TRANSLATOR: Gwen Davies grew up in a Welsh-speaking family in West Yorkshire. She has translated into English the Welsh-language novels of Caryl Lewis, published as Martha, Jack and Shanco (Parthian, 2007) and The Jeweller and is co-translator, with the author, of Robin Llywelyn’s novel, published as White Star by Parthian in 2003. She is the editor of Sing, Sorrow, Sorrow: Dark and Chilling Tales (Seren, 2010). Gwen has edited the literary journal, New Welsh Review, since 2011. She lives in Aberystwyth with her family.
"Caryl Lewis’s novels and short stories are already considered to be contemporary classics in the original Welsh. In this lyrical, muscular translation by Gwen Davies, English-speaking readers are given the opportunity to appreciate the full power of Lewis’s work, which is bold yet unassuming, and to lose themselves in it. 'The Jeweller' features a slew of compelling characters, their flaws and weaknesses crafted by a writer who deserves every one of the numerous accolades she has already garnered." Francesca Rhydderch
"A gem of a story about the mistakes made in the name of love, and the magic needed to mend. Language gleams here, even in the darkest moments - a beguiling, mythic tale of redemption." Katherine Stansfield
"A novel about hoarding the past - and letting it go - 'The Jeweller' peers into lives warped by loss and cluttered with objects, yet held together by gentle acts of kindness. In this vivid translation, Gwen Davies expertly captures the cadences and textures of Caryl Lewis’s richly descriptive prose."