Chris Keil's long awaited and widely acclaimed third novel 'Flirting At The Funeral' was launched at Waterstone's in Carmarthen on September 25th. He is the author of two acclaimed novels: The French Thing (Carreg Gwalch, 2002) and Liminal (Alcemi, 2007). Chris's ne novel is published by Cillian Press and is available from amazon.com. Buy it here:- Flirting At The Funeral
For everyone I imagine there is a past time of great hope and inspiration which is looked back upon with fond affection. For a group of young Welsh students that time was the Portuguese revolution of 1974 in which one of the last post World War II European fascist dictatorships was overthrown and ...just for a while:-
"There was music in the streets
and revolution was everywhere."
Morgan and Matty James flew out to Portugal the following year and though their relationship ended shortly thereafter it was an experience that shaped their lives and determined their attitudes for decades to come.
Fast forwarding to modern day Europe the novel examines themes of personal and political loyalty, compromise and survival against a backdrop of a crumbling currency and a continent consumed by economic and political convulsions.
Matty James, a former Europop one hit wonder turned cabaret singer has moved on since '74. She expresses her new politics quite succinctly at several points in the narrative:-
"I've got quite used to this side of the barricades," she said. "This is the side the champagne is on."
"Only the rich are free baby." she said. "Only the very rich. ..."
Matty is under the wing of sinister German millionaire and lifestyle guru Dr Arno Bendt and occupies her time trying to revive her musical career. Morgan , after a chance meeting with Matty in London, returns to Lisbon and attempts to revive their old relationship.
Are the flames of passion rekindled or does everyone go on flirting at the funeral as before?
'Flirting' is Chris Keil's third novel and the best he has gifted us with to date. With all the pace of a good thriller it explores subtle and complex emotional and philosophical dilemmas. It is a novel that deserves to be widely read and appreciated from the pen of one of Wales most promising new writers.
One of my top picks for a Wales Book of the Year Award in 2013.
Review by Ceri Shaw