Niall Griffiths (4 stars)

Runt (Jonathan Cape)


What a courageous writer Niall Griffiths is. In the seven years since his debut Grits - an ambitious and occasionally brilliant study of modern hedonism in West Wales - he has divined, deviated and experimented with a bravery that is only really comparable to that of our own James Kelman. Irvine Welsh and Kevin Sampson, the two writers he is most often compared to, seem, by comparison, to have been trading on old glories since their 90s debuts. 2001’s Sheepshagger introduced Griffiths’ more militantly Welsh handle on his sprawling dyspeptic form followed by the tightly structured love story Kelly and Victor and on to the unruly experiments in linguistics and crushed narrative that were Stump and the deeply visceral Wreckage. Griffiths clearly has a dodgy goalie’s ability to blind and impress as he moves the goalposts.

His new book, Runt is arguably his best to date. Racing like a damaged heart from the off, this is the story of an under-educated 16-year-old from a big city who goes to stay with his widowed drunken uncle in a remote Welsh hill farm. This is, however, no ordinary teenager; there is evil born of lust in them hills and this chosen one may be the only thing that stands between it and the slaughter of innocents. Drenched with paganistic intent, Runt is made odder by Griffiths’ monologued lingual deconstruction, a Clockwork Orange distilled through the excellent Welsh ‘community’ writing of Caradoc Evans and RS Thomas. This is a euphoric, epic and deeply moving book.


1. BlackBob7 Jan 2010, 3:50am Report

Runt is the best book I have ever read and I am astounded that I am the first person to write on this thing.
Hello mum!!! Oh no, you're dead too.

2. Andreea25 Aug 2010, 2:19pm5 stars Niall Griffiths Report

I read Kelly+Victor last week and I was absolutely Shocked!! Best book ever, best writer.Now I'm thinking of buiyng Grits, I heard the it's a very good one too...and maybe...Runt 'cause you totally convince me BlackBob,with your "Hello mum!!! Oh no, you're dead too" LOL

Anyway Niall Griffiths touched my heart.Have a nice day you all...of course with one of the books of Niall Griffiths in your arms^^

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