Carys Davies

Published: 4 April 2019
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 160 pages
ISBN: 9781783784233

About the author

Image of Carys Davies

Carys Davies's short stories have been widely published in magazines and anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. They have won the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, the Society of Authors' Olive Cook Award, the Royal Society of Literature's V S Pritchett Prize, and a Northern Writers' Award, and her second collection, The Redemption of Galen Pike, won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award 2015. She lives with her family in Lancaster, England. More about the author


West is both beautifully crafted and entrances to its cleverly conceived end’



West is a journey and a wonder. A story concerned with value and language, love and absence, life and death. A debut of real distinctionBernard MacLaverty

West proves what-in-the-know lovers of her short stories have already been trumpeting: Carys Davies is a deft, audacious visionary, a master of the form. In West, she breaks open our fascination with fated journeys and the irrepressible draw of the unknown, imbuing the American landscape with her own rare magic, twisting the heart as few others can, brilliantly navigating the tension between narrative minimalism and imaginative opulence’ Tea Obrecht, author

West has all the stark power and immediacy of a folk-tale or a legend. It is also structured with great artistry, a beguiling sense of form and pace, and a depth in the way the characters are created, making clear that Carys Davies is a writer of immense talentColm Tóibín

A beautifully written fable on the conflict between the quixotic and the mundane’

A haunting, beautifully crafted novel

A novel of extraordinary beauty... an accomplished tale of genuine panache...West will remain with you for some time’ Paul Burke

A real page-turner. A magnificent achievementRoger Cox

A tiny jewel of a novel, but sweeping in its power and scope, is Carys Davies's West...[an] epic tale of settlers and monsters’ Julie Myerson

Brief and brilliant - perfect to slip into the suitcase...I hope to see it on the Man Booker shortlist this autumn’ Summer Books round up

Highly-readable . . . This well-crafted novel, short though it is, will hold your attention to the very end’

One of the best books I've read this year...West [...] is so crisply and concisely written, and so warm and human in its economy, that it shames the behemoths sitting beside it on the nation's bookshop shelves. It's a book you can read in a day and that will resonate all year long in your head’ Andrew Holgate

Perfectly formed . . . Beautifully crafted and immensely moving

Short, incredible, violent, uplifting and empowering - how Davies manages to create such an enduring story in 150 pages is a mystery, but she nails it. Do your reading list a big favour and transport yourself to the American frontier to meet 12-and-half-year-old Bess and her father’

Slender, stark and utterly mesmerising... The language, lyrical yet pared down, conveys complicated feelings of grief, guilt, sadness and a strange kind of wonder’ Eithne Farry

‘A compact, elegantly written story’ 100 Modern Novels to Love

‘A story of determination, betrayal, folly, and reckless hope written in the grand tradition of the pioneers. You enter the familiar American frontier and shortly are convinced, with Davies' hero, that the mammoths of the Pleistocene still shyly roam the Plains. The seams between imagination and history in this extraordinary story are invisible. I believed every word’ Salvatore Scibona

‘Carys Davies's brilliant gem of a novel glints with sadness and a sombre kind of wonder’ Eithne Farry

‘Davies [...] has the astonishing ability to capture a life - however idiosyncratic - in the briefest of brushstrokes’ Summer Reading

‘Davies spins a convincing story... The author has an acute sense of period, and a fine ear for dialogue’

‘Davies's lapidary prose is a marvel - she creates worlds in a few deft pen strokes... beautifully sadSiobhan Murphy

‘I highly, highly, highly recommend this... This is a book I was hoping would be one of my books of the year and most certainly will be’ Simon Savidge

‘In a way, West reads like some extended fairy tale. But then, I've never stopped wanting to run off and find dinosaurs. Its strength lies in belief, and wonder, and the simple pure clarity of that in an incomprehensible world’ Cynan Jones

‘In Davies's slim first novel...not a word is wasted; the canvas is as wide as her brush is fine...There are many worlds to explore within this short book’

‘Menace and mordant wit are the blood that runs through these veins, but there's a pulse of wonder in Carys Davies' West. She sees the world and its inhabitants both as we hope they are and as we fear that they might be. An audacious and enigmatic debut of thrilling dimensions, and a halting reminder of fiction's possibilities’ Akhil Sharma

‘One of the most haunting and beautifully crafted novels I have read in a long time... Davies has produced something quite wonderful

‘To read Carys Davies' West is to encounter a myth, or a potent dream - a narrative at once new and timeless. Exquisite, continent, utterly vivid, this short novel will live on in your imagination long after you read the last page’ Claire Messud, author

‘Wonderful’ Sarah Jessica Parker

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