“The Dig is astounding. It is one of the most powerful novels I have read in a very long time. Intense, raw, sometimes brutal, it is a perfect corrective to our notion of the rural idyll. It is a very short novel that feels vast and broad because of its mythic quality. I would never have imagined I would have become so engrossed in a tale of a sheep-farmer and a badger baiter. It is alert to both the violence and tenderness of existence, in a way few books are. I tell everyone to read this book. It’s a new read-in-one-sitting classic.”
Matt Haig, novelist and Chair of Judges, Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014
This is a searing short novel, built of the interlocking fates of a badger-baiter and a disconsolate farmer, unfolding in a stark rural setting where man, animal, land and weather are at loggerheads. Their two paths converge with tragic inevitability. Jones writes of the physiology of grief and the isolation of loss with brilliance, and about the simple rawness of animal existence with a naturalist’s unblinking eye. His is a pared-down prose of resonant simplicity and occasional lushness. His writing about ducks and dogs and cows is axe-sharp. There is not a whiff of the bucolic pastoral or the romanticized sod here. This is a real rural ride. It is short, but crackles with latent compressed energy that makes it swell to fill more space than at first glance it occupies.
About Cynan Jones:
Cynan Jones was born in Aberystwyth, Wales in 1975. He is the author of three novels, T he Long Dry (winner of a Betty Trask Award, 2007), Everything I Found on the Beach (2011), Bird, Blood, Snow (2012) and The Dig (2014), a chapter of which was shortlisted for the 2013 Sunday Times/ EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. He lives in Aberaeron, Wales.
Photo Credit: Alice Fiorilli 2013
The Dig is published by Granta. Read a reader review of The Dig here.