Divided into four sections/elements, this novel follows two Welsh women, Daryl who has left but come home again and Ani who is desperate to get away and does so in her fantasies. Daryl is an artist whose return to Newport is motivated by a wish to rebuild the relationship with her father that was wrecked by his lies about her mother's suicide. Ani, a student, is working in a petrol station and when Daryl sees her there she becomes totally smitten. But the relationship goes horribly wrong. Ani descends into a breakdown, while Daryl has to cope with her father's death and simultaneously a wonderful commission to create a new piece of art for the centre of town. And the mud puppy? This strange and symbolic visitor from the other side of the world may or may not be an evolutionary freak, capable of breathing ouside water. Surprising, comic, at times magical, this unashamedly unusual novel has all the force and freshness of a bold new voice.
Erica Wooff is 33 and comes from Newport. She has had a short story published and a trilogy of stories adapted and performed at the 1999 Edinburgh Fringe. Mud Puppy recently won an Arts Council of Wales writer's bursary.