On leaving school a sixteen-year-old boy goes to live with his uncle on a remote Welsh hill-farm. His aunt has recently committed suicide after losing her livestock in the foot-and-mouth epidemic and his uncle has turned, once again, to the bottle. The boy is an innocent, a spiritual savant; his uncle sees him as a shaman. An unwitting repository of folk memory, he is a boy from the margins- barely educated but possessed of extraordinary insights; barely literate but able to speak a language of his own a poetry laden with Pagan and Christian myth. He is unaware that he is gifted, unaware of what he knows in general which is probably for the best since the enormity of his knowledge, were it to be understood, would crush him. During one of his ecstatic trances the boy learns that he has an appointed role in the world, which he must discover for himself. During an episode of brutal and climactic violence, he does exactly that. Told through the boy s internal monologue of beauty and damage, Runt is a powerful, disturbing and moving novel that reinvigorates the language of fiction and illuminates domestic tragedy with a penetrating epic light.
Niall Griffiths was born in Liverpool in 1966 and now lives in Wales. He has published five novels- Grits, Sheepshagger, Kelly + Victor, Stump and Wreckage.