In this mysterious and quiet novel, steeped in emotion and filled with secrets, Gwen Davies has skilfully translated Caryl Lewis’s beguiling story of Mari, a market stall holder who lives alone with her cat and pet monkey, Nanw. As part of her livelihood, Mari collects vintage clothing and jewellery by clearing houses of the deceased; in her personal life, she surrounds herself with the remnants of these other people’s lives as an attempt to fend off her feelings of loneliness. Mari is also committed to perfectly cutting a rare emerald, which requires skill to execute correctly. In her pursuit of this perfect gem, more aspects of her own life are chiselled away and revealed to us; the strained relationship with her father and complex friendships, her feelings of isolation and blame over past hurts.
Soon we learn that it is not only the possessions of the dead that haunt the text, but also loss, regret, and loneliness. The landscape of the west Wales coast, and the sea in particular, creates a dark and stormy atmosphere. By way of her succinct, episodic chapters, Lewis allows us to unpick our way through these fragments to a discovery that brings a chance for Mari to start anew in an unexpected way.
'The Jeweller is a beguiling, quirky story examining the haunting afterlife of the objects we leave behind.'
Gemma Pearson, Wales Arts Review
'A moving, quirky, and gorgeously written meditation on the haunting afterlife of the objects we leave behind. There is a lapidary beauty hidden in almost every sentence.'
'Caryl Lewis’s novels and short stories are already considered to be contemporary classics in the original Welsh. In this lyrical, muscular translation by Gwen Davies, English-speaking readers are given the opportunity to appreciate the full power of Lewis’s work, which is bold yet unassuming, and to lose themselves in it. The Jeweller features a slew of compelling characters, their flaws and weaknesses crafted by a writer who deserves every one of the numerous accolades she has already garnered.'
'A gem of a story about the mistakes made in the name of love, and the magic needed to mend. Language gleams here, even in the darkest moments - a beguiling, mythic tale of redemption.'