Mari supplements her modest trade as a market stall holder with the wares she acquires from clearing the houses of the dead. She lives alone in a tiny cottage by the shore, apart from a monkey that she keeps in a cage, surrounding herself with the lives of others, combing through letters she has gleaned, putting up photographs of strangers on her small mantelpiece.
But Mari is looking for something beyond saleable goods for her stall. As she works on cutting a perfect emerald, she inches closer to a discovery that will transform her life and throw her relationships with old friends into relief. To move forward she must shed her life of things past and start again. How she does so is both surprising and shocking…
The Jeweller is hypnotic, drawing you in with subtle imagery and describing settings in such a way that you feel you’re right there. The characters are distinct and could be someone who know. I didn’t know where the story was going but was happy to be pulled along, the chapters are short and before you know it you’ve finished the book!
This story is unique and stands out like a gem in the sand. It’s hard to really put my finger on what makes it so special, to put into words how it absorbs your attention and keeps it even after you’ve turned the last page.
I loved the haunting idea of people being somehow connected to the objects they leave behind and Mari is like their keeper and you wonder why until you reach the resolution of the story. Ideas are always hinted and shown, leaving you to make up your own mind about what happened.
I find it very hard to express my admiration for this book, it’s simply poetic and beautiful.
AUTHOR: Caryl Lewis has published eleven Welsh-language books for adults, three novels for young adults and thirteen children’s books. Her novel Martha, Jac a Sianco (Y Lolfa, 2004), won Wales Book of the Year in 2005. Caryl wrote the script for a film based on Martha, Jac a Sianco, which won the Atlantis Prize at the 2009 Moondance Festival. Her television credits include adapting Welsh-language scripts for the acclaimed crime series Y Gwyll / Hinterland.
TRANSLATOR: Gwen Davies grew up in a Welsh-speaking family in West Yorkshire. She has translated into English the Welsh-language novels of Caryl Lewis, published as Martha, Jack and Shanco (Parthian, 2007) and The Jeweller and is co-translator, with the author, of Robin Llywelyn’s novel, published as White Star by Parthian in 2003. She is the editor of Sing, Sorrow, Sorrow: Dark and Chilling Tales (Seren, 2010). Gwen has edited the literary journal, New Welsh Review, since 2011. She lives in Aberystwyth with her family.