Monday, September 03, 2007

Dylan Thomas short stories


While I was cooking my curry last night I was reading some early short stories by Dylan Thomas, from his Collected Stories. I confess I haven't read much Thomas apart from Under Milk Wood, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect - lyrical, obviously, but that was about it.

They're very, very odd. They're set in rural Wales, in the Jarvis hills, and they're almost hallucinatory in feel and subject matter. They merge the commonplace and the macabre and the supernatural in a very eerie way. They are riven with death and sex, and everything is told in a wonderfully quiet, understated way. They describe horrific things - a burning baby, for example - and do so in a way which is an object lesson in show/tell, and in building suspense and in creating unease. And all the time, of course, they are shot through with poetic phrases and language but this poetry doesn't intrude. Rather, it adds another layer of mystery and unease to the stories.

Fascinating reading, well worth digging out.

1 comment:

Cliff said...

Looking forward to laying my hands on some of Thomas' collected fiction. Too many people are only familiar with his verse. I find the notion of combining the surreal with poetic imagery an attractive one. Just finished the pictorial biography of Thomas and it only served to pique my fascination with the man and his work.

Thanks for the post, lad.