Yesterday I posted a link to an Amazon review of Terry Melia's wonderful Tales from the Greenhills. Amazon promptly removed my review without explanation or a means of contacting them, as well as deleting another review written by my mother—who runs a publisher in Wales called Cinnamon Press. Today I repost both reviews here. First, Jan Fortune's excellent endorsement:
Since Amazon has taken down the review of Terry Melia's book—here it is in full—they don't mind taking money from authors, but supporting them is an altogether different matter apparently—I reviewed Terry's book because it's a great read—it's not a Cinnamon Press book—just really good:
Tales from the Greenhills is a social realist coming of age novel set in Liverpool in the seventies, with a section in rural Wales. It's gripping, fantastically observed and bursting with larger than life characters. The pacing is superb and the structure of the novel lets the reader know that this author really knows what he's doing - not only how to tell a great story, but how to take the reader into the heart of an experience. The rapid narrative is not without violence, but it's not done for effect, but because the story demands it. The protagonist, Tommy, has a lot of growing up to do and you need to buy the book to find out how he handles this - and the many challenges that come his way.
Throughout the novel, the use of humour (sometimes dark) and the undercurrent of political satire are beautifully balanced against both high octane scenes and some really moving passages.
Terry Melia has a distinctive narrative voice and Tales from the Greenhills takes us back in time whilst also commenting on issues that remain just as live and urgent in contemporary urban environments. A real achievement.
And second, my own:
Tales from the Greenhills is a social satire and adventure story, a debut from Terry Melia that moves from Liverpool to Wales and back to explore the moral development of Tommy Dwyer. As unpretentiously rooted in the seventies as it is in place, Melia utilises that immersive and rich backdrop to explore redemption, maturity and masculinity with wit and subtlety. Tommy is forced to define himself against a changing urban and rural environment, in which violence, class, faith and drugs compete to rob him of his autonomy.
It is a classic trilogy in one book, in which we see the protagonist gain experience while navigating and re-navigating challenges and temptations: frightening confrontations, competing loyalties and abandonment. The proleptic prologue, which begins the novel at the end, emphasises this circularity and juxtaposition. The reader is encouraged to see this as a hopeful book, written in a humanistic tradition. In turn meditative and suspenseful, from Tommy’s pet Butch to the eccentric farmer Mr Morrin and his philosophy of life, it’s a story that stays with you long after reading.