Ceri Shaw


 

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The Feast by Matthew G. Rees, A Review

user image 2022-01-22
By: Ceri Shaw
Posted in: Book Reviews

Read our interview with Matthew G. Rees here


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Not to be confused with the recent, wildly acclaimed Welsh language horror movie of the same name ( Y Gwledd ), this is Matthew G. Rees' third published anthology of short stories. You will find reviews of his other works here The Keyhole and here Smoke House & Other Stories


We have expressed the opinion that Matthew G. Rees is a major new talent elsewhere and this new collection confirms our estimation. The Feast is a deliciously dark and frequently amusing collection that leaves one in no doubt that Rees is a writer at the top of his game and destined for popularity and acclaim.

In so far as this collection has a theme, the author outlines it in his brief introductory note:-

" This collection of stories created itself over the course of two years in which I found that I seemed to be writing short fiction that possessed a connective tissue ."

The nature of this 'connective tissue' becomes clearer when we consider the accompanying quotation from Shakespeare:-

" Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour. " William Shakespeare Richard II 

Indeed there is an element of - be careful what you wish for - in most of these tales. In 'The Twilight Maiden' we are introduced to Guiseppe Dellucci, an Italian restaurateur in search of a delicious legendary variety of tomato which only grows in the vicinity of the remote village of Collina Rossa. The atmosphere of suspense and thinly veiled threat are skilfully crafted until Guiseppe is finally inducted into the mystery of the fabled tomato plant.

These stories are set in a variety of locations and in 'Stone Cold' we meet Candice Canyons, an exotic dancer at The Southern Peaches Go-Go Club, somewhere in the American south. She dreams of a better life and opportunity presents itself in the form of Seymour Thrayle, an aged wealthy landowner who frequents the Club. His obsession with, and desire for, peach tarts leads to a  grim and humorous denouement.

In 'Fungal' the protagonist is distracted by a store front sign which reads:-

SELF-SUFFICIENCY

Enquire within

Having nearly exhausted a fortune he had inherited from his family he decided that there would be no harm in inquiring. Needless to say his life is changed forever in the most unexpected of ways.

If you are not acquainted with the work of Matthew G' Rees this collection provides an excellent introduction. His tales have the capacity to simultaneously delight and disturb and always stay in your thoughts for some time after reading. The Feast by Matthew G' Rees is AmeriCymru's selection for Book of the Month January 2022.

 

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