Disastrous cycles of flood and drought dominate life in the climate-changed future. Guarded by marksmen, the armoured Water Train that keeps the parched city alive is under threat from terrorists. Meanwhile protests grow against the powerful authorities and their plan to demolish countless houses, destroying communities in order to build a dock for towing in an iceberg. Tensions between city and countryside intensify.
Composed of a series of twelve standalone but interwoven short stories, the narrative emerges from the characters’ varied, at times conflicting voices: from the marksman with a dying wife, nursed by the wife of the investigative journalist, to the scientist or the eco-warriors outside the city. While some worry over their private griefs and dreads, others organise, but all live daily with the realities of the present crisis and face an uncertain future. There is danger, from unaccountable authorities and from militant resisters, but the discovery of a protected dragonfly species brings a grain of hope that construction of the dock can be halted. Pushing his characteristic economy of writing almost to the limit, distilling each intense episode drop by drop to pool into a deep, dark narrative well, Cynan Jones has created a tour de force, a poetic and disturbing vision of what may lie ahead.
As a story of and for our times, it is very human, and deadly serious.
Nina Allan, The Guardian
Cynan Jones continues to elevate Welsh literature with Stillicide being a high-water mark for what can be achieved through visceral, yet taut, storytelling.
Gareth Kent, Wales Arts Review