Under Slag Tips: A Collection of Short Stories by Wybert Bendall

 

wybert

The Blurb:

Stories of the colourful characters that surrounded me while growing up in Aberfan; a mining village in a South Wales Valley. A social history of a time when the only vehicles in the street were horse drawn carts. Stories filled with affection and humour. For each download £1.00 will be donated to Cancer Research.

My Review:

I have to admit right away that I personally know this author and that I have read many of his stories in the past. And have also enjoyed listening to him read them.

 This is poetic prose at its best, I think. Filled with extraordinary characters living lives we can now only imagine, evocative descriptions and a great sense of place, each story stands alone. Yet  they are connected by the village of  Aberfan, where the author grew up. Set at a time when coal mining was as strong in the Valleys as the people who lived there, each of these tales bring many emotions with them.

 The cover, a black and white photograph, is a true depiction of the place and time, says it all; from the terraced houses to the enormous coal slag heaps looming over Aberfan. A poignant image, bearing in mind  the tragedy that happens to this village decades later 

 But these stories give no hint of that. These are stories of great humour, poignancy and the joy of childhood freedom,  long since lost to the children of today.

I particularly liked the story that carries the title of the anthology, Under Slag Tips. Written somewhat in the style of Dylan Thomas but (I need to whisper here…) much more enjoyable to read, each phrase evokes an image. Whether of a character, a scene, an event or just a stroll through the streets and countryside, the reader is carried along with the author.

And, a nice surprise, there are even a couple of narrative poems.

This book is for anyone who likes rich imaginative prose transported into wonderful vignettes. Or is curious about the history of  past life in the Welsh Valleys. Or just enjoys short stories.

It’s a shame that the formatting between the stories needs attention but this didn’t detract too much from my reading.In the end, for me, it’s the contents, the wealth of detail and the pure pleassure of rolling a lot of the phrases over and over in my mind.

I thoroughly recommend this collection of tales.

And, as it says in the Blurb, for each sale, a £1 will go to Cancer Research. 

I reviewed this book on Amazon as part of #AugustReviews

Buy Links:

Amazon.co.uk: http://bit.ly/2bbnJqZ

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