Alternately hilarious, shocking and sad, Crystal Jeans’ latest novel is set in Cardiff. But perhaps not the Cardiff the urban planners and WAG mavens would use in their shiny advertising campaigns.
Each chapter is narrated by different characters linked by the street on which most of them live and the appearance in them all (to greater or lesser extent) of the title character the alcoholic vagrant who for one of the neighbours is an unusual subject of desire. Set in various homes, streets and parks, and a nearby care home for the demented elderly the story lines are darkly humorous and occasionally rude and crude – up front portrayals of people on the frontline of urban poverty, disenfranchisement, drug culture and unappreciated but essential work lives. Lit up with authentic characters and appealing voices, and the full gamut of human relationships platonic, romantic and sexual this is an unputdownable journey into the underside of contemporary Wales.
Publication Date: August First
Available for Sale: UK and Ireland
Format: Mass market paperback -fiction-
From Wales Book of the Year award winning and Bridport Prize and Polari Prize shortlisted author
Will appeal to those who love the novels and stories of Niall Griffiths and Rachel Tresize
I would have to say this is the epitome of quirky novels and it was nice to read something I may not have normally just checked out from the library. The synopsis intrigued me and really who isn’t curious when a book’s title is The Homeless Heart-Throb? Though there is a homeless man near the stories of the neighbors of this Welsh street, it’s really more about how all the neighbors are all connected by their proximity, it’s all quite intricate. Jeans is unapologetic in showing the gritty and honest side of people, it’s not always nice, but it is truthful and that is more important in a novel like this. There’s quite a lot of quirky vulgarity and a few chuckles thrown in along with just how crappy life can be at times and I appreciated that ‘ugliness’ [though really it was anything but ugly in her writing style].
An interesting and, again, quirky read.
A different sort of read for the different sort of reader 😉
Thanks to Anne Cater and Honno Pub for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Content Warning: Sexual cavorting lol , vulgarity, alcohol abuse, death
About the Author
Crystal Jeans was born and brought up in Cardiff. She lived in Bristol before doing first a Creative Writing BA then an MPhil at the University of Glamorgan. She works in a care home, which inspired a collection of poetry about dementia (Mulfran Press). She has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2010), had poetry published by Seren Press, and two short stories published by New Welsh Review.
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