Friday, 19 February 2010

Gold by Dan Rhodes

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.

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