Three women are thrown together as a result of their relationships with members of valleys punk band, The Boobs. Each one, for different reasons, is unsatisfied with her way of life. There is the beautiful Siân who 'in any other place would have grown up to be a catwalk model', Rhiannon who was mistreated as a child and in defence or defiance has turned into 'a manipulative bitch; she hated women and women hated her' and Ellie, also troubled and unsettled, always looking westwards from the valley, to America, for her escape.
The struggles of these women are compounded and brought to a head with the arrival of an English stranger in the Welsh village of Aberalaw. His presence sparks in each of them a dramatic reaction to the dormant unease steeped in each of their psyches.
Rachel Trezise’s Sixteen Shades of Crazy is essential reading for anybody interested in British literature. Her valuable contribution to the literary landscape of Britain is visible in her continued documentation of the south Wales valleys, following on from such important writers as Jack Jones, Ron Berry and, of course, Gwyn Thomas to whom this book is dedicated.
Rachel Trezise writes honestly about an area of Wales that is often romanticised for the traditions of its past. In her novel 'the skeletons of mining towns [are] populated by zombies, kids so thin and hopeless the wind would blow them over'. The valleys of her writing are liminal. Not the traditional coalface workplace of yesterday and not yet its redeveloped and regenerated future but someplace in between; a limbo peopled with complex characters squirming around its edges.
'Trezise is an outstanding young writer, with a wonderfully sharp, cynical take on contemporary Wales.'
'Trezise opens up the lives of her characters with surgical skill, making you wince as well as laugh.'
The Western Mail
'We in the know have come to expect brilliance from Rachel Trezise, and Sixteen Shades of Crazy doesn't disappoint. This is a powerful, unflinching and extremely funny novel. It's a beauty.'
'Sixteen Shades of Crazy is a dirty but Day-Glo slice of modern Valleys life.'
New Welsh Review