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'Sheepshagger is never less than compelling; the range of Griffiths's achievement is as exhilarating as the reach of his ambition' Guardian

About the Author

Niall Griffiths was born in 1966. His new novel Kelly+ Victor is published in March 2001 and he is also working on a book of short fiction.


Published to critical acclaim last year in the U.K., Sheepshagger, the amazing second novel from Niall Griffiths (Grit), is as raw and unsettling as its title. Ianto is an orphan, raised by his grandmother in the Welsh countryside. Ugly, withdrawn and semiretarded, he is the classic outcast, finding solace first in nature, later in drugs and the company of a few mates. The ramshackle family farm is sold and his fury at his displacement ultimately impels him to murder. Griffiths's prose matches the savage intensity of his protagonist: stoned reminiscences by Ianto's friends are woven with flashbacks (both wondrous and horrible) of Ianto's childhood and the events leading up to the murders, creating a chilling portrait that is nearly mythological in its intensity and pathos. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"The plotting of the novel is cunning, the performance immaculate... The management and pacing of this material are masterly... He has produced a vital, driven and necessary book" -- Iain Sinclair * Independent on Sunday *
"Niall Griffiths is in complete command of his material... A hymn both ancient and modern to place and to unsentimental belonging" * Independent *
"A powerful blend of expletive-ridden dialogue and passages of beautiful prose- quite brilliant" * The Times *
"A fabulous piece of writing... One of the new millennium's most striking novels to date" * Time Out *
"The power of Griffiths's language is astounding, steeped in the wild forces of nature that have helped make Ianto what he is, by turns lyrically beautiful and tumultuously violent" * The Times *

Danny, Marc, Griff, and Llyr spend their time taking as many drugs as they can afford, which they mix with quantities of cheap liquor. On the night of the novel, they are trying to make sense of the murders committed by one of their circle, Ianto. A skinny, inarticulate young man, Ianto has brutally killed three people in the mountains near their home. Welsh author Griffiths (Grits) tells his story in three narrative strands: the profane ruminations of Ianto's mates; flashbacks to the recent events that led up to his murderous, inchoate rampage; and scenes from Ianto's childhood that are by turns glorious and brutal. The tragedy of the young man's life is the tapestry of this novel, woven with brilliant images of nature and the squalid reality of a life in which the only release from despair is drugs and liquor. The novel's profanity and graphic brutality will put off many readers, but the power of the narrative is undeniable. Sheepshagger belongs in most adult fiction collections. Andrea Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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