The Eel Question

Publisher: Graffeg

Review

Nant lives on the flat marshes fishing for eels with her master Dith, who thinks nothing of hitting her in irritation at her constant curiosity about the world.

One day, there is a strange commotion up the channel, and Nant proclaims excitedly that it’s the King of the Eels coming to claim his kingdom. Instead, it turns out to be otters desperate to steal the eels for themselves.

After the biggest otter tears off two of Dith’s fingers and shreds his forearms with her claws, Nant finds a baby otter she decides to rescue. But when Dith dies, the fearful swamp-landers make Nant a scapegoat. Can she find her way free, following her otter’s twist and flick in the clear waters?

This unusual, mythic-feeling story is one of a series of tales from Welsh publisher Graffeg that explore the deeper and sometimes darker side of our connection with the natural world. Nant finds herself at the mercy of a witch hunt, and the story explores themes of ignorance and curiosity with a deft and gentle hand. As ever, Davies’ love of the natural world is obvious, and her writing sings with a dark exuberance.

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