The Dig

A new drawing, inspired by reading Cynan Jones‘ novel The Dig. The prose owes something to Cormac McCarthy, as does the premise of setting two disparate characters on a doomed trajectory, but there’s a specific emphasis on location – an unspecified part of remote Wales – that roots it in a British tradition encompassing everyone from Dylan Thomas to Ian McEwan to Ted Hughes. Not for the faint-hearted, and perhaps too bleak for some, but it provides a necessary alternative to much of what’s been called ‘the new nature writing’. Jones’ describes the kind of human interactions with the countryside that I recall from growing up on the southern edge of Leeds, where wild woods and farmland butted up against the edge of council estates. On Sunday mornings we didn’t get church bells, we got the sound of shotguns blasting  bird fowl out of the sky, and it was a common sight to see dead crows and magpies hung by their feet from hawthorn trees.

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