A. L. Reynolds lives in the beautiful Conwy Valley, where the surroundings add more than a little inspiration to her writing. After a misspent youth pursuing literature and mediaeval studies to postgraduate level, she now divides her time between her children, her cats, and her computer.
Her first novel, How Glass Becomes Sand, was published (as A. L. Doughty) while she was still at university by Gwasg y Bwthyn, Caernarfon. Her second novel, Of the Ninth Verse, was published by Cockatrice Books in 2021, and will be followed by Seaside Towns in November 2022.
Seaside Towns by A. L. Reynolds
For Anatoliy Yetvushenko, émigré and physicist, it should be the perfect holiday. Llandudno calls to his mind the Black Sea holidays of his childhood in the Ukraine, while his companion, Francis, is just beginning to awaken to the possibilities of male sexual love in the first years following its legalisation. But Anatoliy has memories of an earlier holiday in Lyme Regis in the 1950s, where his previous lover, who now lives near Llandudno, left him to make a loveless marriage. With its awareness of the landscape of the north coast of Wales, of quantum physics and of deep time, this novel reflects the search for intimacy and fulfilment in the shadow of political tyranny and sexual persecution.
‘gentle yet searing, introspective yet intensely physical. A real gem of a book… Seek it out if you can.’
Rachel Rees, Buzz Magazine
‘the wonder, the intensity, the profound gratitude of [sexual love]… the intimately human [cast] in an epic light, in the awesome interconnectedness of all’
Niall Griffiths, Nation Cymru
Of the Ninth Verse by A. L. Reynolds
Nominated for the Novel London Award
Anwen and her younger brother, Idwal, are inseparable almost from birth. The childhood they share involves harvesting the hay and looking after the newborn lambs in the Conwy valley, though Anwen sees before her the promise of a degree in Edinburgh or Durham and a career as a mathematician, while Idwal seems destined by his strength and skill to take over the running of the family farm. Then, as their feelings for each other grow darker and more complex, Anwen finds herself put to a terrifying choice. With a luminous prose that reflects the richness of the novel’s inner and outer landscapes, Of the Ninth Verse explores both the violent, destructive force of passion and the fragility of the human heart.
‘With its austere beauty and precisely knowledgeable evocations of the land, its people, and its rhythms, written in prose “felt in the blood, and felt along the heart”, Of the Ninth Verse has a profound and rooted authenticity that convinces and enchants – an enthralling novel by a writer at the peak of her powers.’
‘This subtly written novel is both a coming-of-age story, and a love story with a difference. Rooted firmly in rural Wales, it tells a compelling narrative of forbidden yet irresistible love. Reynolds handles the plot and characters beautifully, and the prose is elegant and readable. The female perspective is convincing, as the novel unrolls to its inevitable ending.’
Angela Topping, poet and critic
‘a chronicler of the region’s disappearing heritage.’
North Wales Chronicle
For all its drama and sense of foreboding, Of the Ninth Verse is a strangely comforting read. And it is so much more than a novel about an illicit relationship. …For me, it is the authenticity of the story that stays with you. Of The Ninth Verse is a love story. And a compassionate and incredibly convincing one at that.
Some Melodious Plot