REVIEW by Willard Manus
THE DIG introduces the work of the Welsh novelist Cynan Jones to readers in the USA. THE DIG is his fourth novel, actually, but Coffee House Press has released it first, with two others by the author to follow (The Long Dry and Everything I Found On the Beach).
THE DIG is a short, tight novel whose roots go deep into primordial earth. The action mostly takes place on a small sheep farm in Wales whose owner, Daniel, is battling against tough odds to keep the family legacy going. Diseased and malformed lambs, bureaucratic rules and regulations are just a few of the problems he faces, but they pale in comparison to the loss of his pregnant wife, which happened when they agreed to look after a horse for a needy friend.
horse was a placid horse but horses are great, instinctive animals and
the mare seemed to have sensed the disquiet in her owner and was recently
uncharacteristic, Jones writes. The wife goes to curry her, stopping
first to look back at the farm and to think of what was inside her.
Then, when she felt a great feeling of wealth and happiness go richly
and simply through her...the horse kicked her.