REVIEW by Crystal Jeans

NWR 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


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