REVIEW by Amy McCauley

NWR Issue 107

Advantages of the Older Man

by Gwyneth Lewis

I’ll admit I’m a bit perplexed by this novella. To begin with, the conceit is rather peculiar: a twenty-something called Jennifer moves home to Swansea and is befriended by the ghost of Dylan Thomas. The reason for this haunting only becomes clear about two-thirds into the book (and as far as plot-twists go it’s something of an anti-climax), so I spent the majority of the story wondering what the point was. I’m all for weird and fantastical conceits; and I was willing to go along with the relationship between ‘living’ and ‘dead’, as well as Lewis’ self-conscious parody of Thomas; but for the reader to suspend his or her disbelief it’s absolutely crucial they are persuaded by the writing. Unfortunately, I found the characters implausible, the descriptions awkward and the dialogue rather hammy...

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previous review: Quantum Poetics (Newcastle/Bloodaxe Poetry Lectures: 15)
next review: Little Man


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