Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pryce, Malcom: The Day Aberystwyth Stood Still

I have just finished re-reading this excellent novel which continues the adventures of Louie Knight in an alternative reality where much is the same but somehow not quite.   The basic plot is the search for
Iestyn Probert who was purportedly hanged for murder following a celebrated robbery though it seems he was brought back to life somehow.   Intertwined with this is the election of a new mayor which involves contests between the candidates rather than voting, a romance between Louie and
a beautiful girl called Miaow, the marriage of a young visitor to Meici, 'one of life's misfits, and sundry other characters.   At times, the narrative is surreal, at others very down to earth with humour
never far from the surface.   Odd touches include a sect, the Denunciationists, which eschews the use
of machinery, a farmer who murdered his brother, an old doctor, a mysterious visitor called Raspiwtin and a secret branch of government.   Poetic passages, ' The soft peacock of the hills and sky; the deep
coagulated carmine of the rose; the custardy yellow of the daisy's face, fringed with those perfect
spears of white', together with direct action ' I picked up the shovel and brought the thin edge of the blade down the back of his skull' recall Raymond Chandler at his best.   So does the downbeat ending
which leaves Louie alone apart from his young assistant, Calamity.   All in all, a delightful and well-
written thriller.  

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