REVIEW by Crystal JeansNWR Issue 100
Say Goodbye to the Boys
by Mari Stead Jones
Mari Stead Jones wrote Say Goodbye to the Boys
after going through the note-filled trunk of her father, the deceased writer Stead Jones (author of Make Room for the Jester
, Library of Wales, 2011). The plot and characters are his. Everything else, hers. ‘It is his bones, but I put the meat on it,’ she says in a BBC Wales online article
. Set in 1947 in a small seaside town in Wales, we follow three young men home from war – Phillip, the protagonist, Emlyn, his annoyingly jocular best friend, and Mash, a giant of a man suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and experiencing violent blackouts. A Polish hairdresser, Lillian Ridetski, who the three men have been visiting, separately, for sex, is killed, pushed off a building. Then some more women are killed and we have a murder mystery on our hands. Though I wasn’t aware of this for some time. Basing this review on a proof with no cover, I went in blind. I spent the first third of the book asking, What kind of book is this? What’s it trying to be? Because all I was getting was: 1. It’s a bit Welsh; 2. It’s a bit 1940s...
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previous review: RS Thomas, Serial Obsessive
next review: Welsh Periodicals in English, 1882-2012