Long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2011
For His Warriors: Thirty Stories is the second of three collections by Rob Mimpriss. It was preceded by Reasoning and will be followed by Prayer at the End.
A Welsh farmer’s wife during the Second World War kills the land-girl her husband has taken as his lover. A leader of the Cornish-language revival commits her last act of protest the day Russian troops march into Berlin. A lonely man on the waterfront at Llandudno wonders whether he or his girlfriend will be first to die of Aids, and a bored man in a restaurant in Cardiff Bay invents a story of arrest and torture in
Czechoslovakia to amuse his petulant lover.
‘These stories are a rare kind of joy. Even when they approach moments of discontent and danger they bring to the reader an optimism founded in human relationships. This is a wonderful collection.’
Prof Graëme Harper, Editor, New Writing
‘Both humour and pity often arise from the characters' inability to understand themselves and those close to them. In suggesting both the truth and the self-deception Mimpriss not only engages our sympathy but makes us question our assumptions about ourselves’
Caroline Clark, gwales.com
‘There is nothing ostentatious about his writing: most of his characters lead unremarkable, even humdrum, lives; there are few dramatic plot developments; the writing does not draw attention to itself. And yet the best of these pieces express something important about psychology and human relationships, and the sparseness of the writing is capable of considerable power.’
Brian George, The Short Review
‘it is the writer’s insight into human nature that I find most impressive: these are stories about real people, who are at times all but paralysed by what life has thrown at them and yet are never wholly devoid of courage.’
Customer review, amazon.co.uk
Reasoning: Twenty Stories is the first of three collections by Rob Mimpriss. It will be followed by For His Warriors and Prayer at the End.
As a man he would suffer for his life, and other people would suffer. He would learn to live watchfully, quick to advantage and flight. Over time he would see that others were like him, not always unhappy, not always alone, but carrying also this life inside them, ravenous and afraid.
An old man tries to assess his own guilt in the marriage his teenage daughter has destroyed. A young man tries to understand why, in the same family, he should be both hated and loved. A seventeenth-century Puritan preacher and a Cardiff woman facing divorce unite in their call to ‘know your innermost heart,’ while a Romanian dissident under Ceauşescu and a Welsh-language activist find themselves outwardly liberated but inwardly still in chains.
The style of the stories is deeply traditional, their content unsettlingly modern. In the same way, life in rural Wales is troubled by events taking place in the outside world. A strong historic awareness and a restlessly questing conscience suggest a writer less concerned with making his mark than with understanding what it means to inherit a Christian and Western heritage at the start of the twenty-first century.
‘Through the stealthy movements of his prose, Rob Mimpriss enacts the quiet enigma of people’s lives and relationships. The result is an understated fiction of compelling intensity.’
Prof M Wynn Thomas
‘A quiet writer with a loud voice... I'll be listening for more.’
Michael Nobbs, gwales.com
‘beautifully written, rich in atmosphere and thought provoking’
Customer review, Amazon
Prayer at the End: Twenty Stories is now complete and has been submitted for publication.
Stories will consider the lives of Muslims in Wales, will compare the scruffy towns of the north with the towns of Eastern Europe, and will consider the desperate urge to escape alongside the need to belong.
‘Hart’s Reach’ is forthcoming in an anthology of short stories translated into Arabic, and ‘Hamilton Park’ was a runner up in the Rhys Davies Competition. Other stories have appeared in Blue Tattoo, Annexe Magazine and The Harbinger.