Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful
Sisterhood is all over the news today. Sex and the City, The Women and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants have all been prominent in the headlines. "Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful" is another story about sisterhood. But it's different. There are no Manolo Blahniks, no weddings in Paris, no jeans that fit every girl perfectly. In fact, there's no glamour and perfection at all. Instead, Deborah Kay Davies brings us the raw, honest, disturbing but somehow touching story of two sisters and their real relationship - the good, the bad and the very ugly. Set in the eastern valleys of south Wales from 1970 to the present day, "Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful" relates the history of Grace and Tamar, their volatile childhood, disruptive coming-of-age and dubious maturity. The book is part novel, part fantasy, part social history. More than anything it tells dark, universal tales about how utterly strange it is to learn to be human. Readers who know Deborah Kay Davies' poetry may be better prepared than most for the shock of her debut collection of stories, "Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful", by turns moving, hilarious and terrifying, and often all three at once.
- Paperback | 165 pages
- 129 x 197 x 10.16mm | 113.4g
- 01 Apr 2010
- Parthian Books
- Cardigan, United Kingdom
Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful, By Deborah Kay Davies (Rated 4/ 5 ) Reviewed by Brandon Robshaw The Independent Sunday, 16 November 2008 Deborah Kay Davies has achieved something rare: a collection of short stories wherein each story is complete in its own right (many were competition winners, or radio broadcasts) but which also work together as a novella-length sequence. The connecting thread is the two sisters Grace and Tamar: this is a study of a lifelong sibling rivalry, or rather, sister rivalry, since though they do have a brother he is not important enough even to merit a name. In fact, the male characters are shadowy and undeveloped in all these stories. Grotesque and violent incidents abound: Tamar is nearly killed as a toddler when Grace pushes her out of a tree; later in life, Tamar nearly drowns Grace in retaliation for the latter's sexual exhibitionism on the beach. Tamar likes to put baby snails up her nose; one disappears and never comes back. One story features sexual intercourse with a basset hound. Sometimes, indeed, the reader is led to wonder whether the events "really" happened or whether they are fantasies. Davies's first book was a volume of poetry and her gift for imagery is is evident here: eating a scallop is described as "like eating a virgin mermaid's buttock".
About Deborah Kay Davies
A girl from the eastern valleys of South Wales (Pontypool), she failed her Eleven Plus and went to Secondary Modern School. She faced the challenges many valleys children encounter, and mentally filed them away for her writing. Since her youth, she earned a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from Cardiff University and has published a collection of poetry, Things You Think I Don't Know, as well as numerous stories in various publications. She is a three-time winner in the Rhys Davies competition. The only year she didn't win was the year she didn't enter - because her partner was a judge.