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Gold by Dan Rhodes

Gold (2007)

by Dan Rhodes

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Miyuki, half japanese/half welsh, spends two weeks of every year in a remote welsh village, a holiday away from her partner and life. The "action" happens mainly in the village pub, The Anchor, and the nearby coast. I say action, there isn't much of that. But still, there is a story, mainly driven forward by the sparse dialogue in the pub with the few regulars and in Miyuki's head giving us small glimpses into her life as well as the life of the few villagers we meet. And bit by bit we assemble our own version of the story. It is a little bit sweet for my taste, a little bit twee, but nevertheless beautifully written. It is warm, gentle, a little bit sad but lacks what I am looking for: challenge. ( )
  HeikeM | Jul 26, 2010 |
Set in the idyllic Welsh countryside, Gold is the story of Miyuki Woodward, a half-Japanese/half-Welsh interior designer who takes her two weeks vacation alone in the same village, in the same cottage, every year, away from her partner Grindle, in order to consolidate their love through separation. The novel takes place during the two weeks vacation and is set mainly in the village pub, The Anchor, and the surrounding countryside.

The story is fairly minimalistic – the biggest thing to happen in the village for a long time is Miyuki painting a rock gold... – but this matters not as the book is driven forward by the characters. The village locals are quirky, with tall Mr Hughes, short Mr Hughes and Mr Puw on one side of the pub, and Septic Barry & the Children from Previous Relationships on the other, and Miyuki is a really likeable lead. The star character, however, is the owner of the pub in which the novel is largely based – Mr Edwards. Mr Edwards is perfect, not used too much nor too little, and throughout the book barely says more than his favourite saying “Holy Mackerel!”.

This is my first Dan Rhodes novel, and it is clear that he is a gem of an author who chooses his words carefully. Descriptively speaking, Gold is a beautiful novel, but on a small scale. When describing (repeatedly) how Miyuki's contact lenses dance across the stove, his ability with words really shines through, but then when describing the sun sparkling on the golden rocks, I found it hard to picture, it didn't really jump out.

All in all, this little novel is a treat, I'm so glad to have found Dan Rhodes and I'm thoroughly looking forward to his latest book, Little Hands Clapping.

A beautiful, sweet and very funny book. Highly recommended.

http://IwishIwasabook.blogspot.com ( )
1 vote Jesh1721 | Feb 26, 2010 |
This is an odd little book. Nothing much happens, and yet it completely won my heart with its mixture of small-town characters, gentle charm and earthy British flavour. It opens with three friends - short Mr Hughes, tall Mr Hughes and Mr Puw - chatting idly in their local pub. Septic Barry is sitting across the room with his band, and Mr Edwards is pulling pints behind the bar. All is as it should be. And then a Japanese-looking girl walks in, orders a pint and sits down in the corner. "Welcome back," everyone says. But who is she? Every year she arrives in this little Welsh coastal town and stays for a fortnight, alone, walking and drinking and reading. Why is she here? The book meanders through each day of her stay, adding little by little to the rich tapestry of the town and the people in it as their stories unfold, and reaching deeper into Miyuki's life back home. It's funny and delightful, quirky and beautiful, and I loved every moment! ( )
4 vote elliepotten | Jun 14, 2009 |
This is a lovely, charming book, and a very quick read. It tells the story of Miyuki, a half Japanese, half Welsh woman, who holidays on her own in the same small Welsh village every year. Nothing in the village ever changes, and not an awful lot ever happens. This being the case, there is a bit of repetition in the book, but this is characteristic of the people and place, and does not detract at all.

However, on this particular holiday, Miyuki decides to get creative with some gold paint, and this leads to a chain of events, which become a big talking point in the village. While this is ostensibly the foundation of the plot, in truth the book is more about a journey of discovery for Miyuki and the assembled cast of characters. Along the way, we as readers learn about Miyuki, her background, her relationships and her insecurities.

For me, the book did not live up to the claim on the cover, of being hilarious, but it was amusing in places, and poignant in other places, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is the kind of book which I like to curl up with on a cold Sunday afternoon (and that is in fact exactly what I did)!, and which makes you smile. I was also unprepared for the surprise ending, which was (deliberately I’m sure) ambiguous.

Overall, I would highly recommend this quirky little gem. ( )
1 vote Ruth72 | Sep 8, 2008 |
This started okay for me and I didn't expect to give it more than 3 stars to be honest. However, the second half of the book was much improved and we got to know the characters a bit more. Every year, for two weeks, Miyuki leaves her lover Grindl at home and visits the same seaside village. The locals know who she is but nothing about her. This year she decides to do something different which starts a chain of events that seem to change Miyuki.

An ambiguous ending (or so I thought) leaves you to wonder a lot. This really works in this case. The characters are so stereotypical of a local pub, it's fabulous. The novel is driven by the characters rather than the plot and I can why it was a little slow to begin with as they need to be drawn out for the reader to understand. A good short novel. One worth reading but not necessarily one that would make me seek out his other work. ( )
1 vote SmithSJ01 | Apr 28, 2008 |
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Tall Mr Hughes, short Mr Hughes and Mr Puw were standing at the bar of The Anchor.
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Miyuki Woodward has been taking a holiday to the same seaside town for eight years. This year, following an act of raw creativity involving some cans of gold spraypaint, she takes part in the most turbulent events the village has seen since Tall Mr Hughes returned from the pub toilet without remembering to button up. Originally published: 2007.… (more)

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Canongate Books

2 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 1841959537, 1847670482

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