review by Maryom
Llwyd McNamara is a not-very-succesful academic, just given the chance of a lifetime - access to the research and notes compiled by deceased rival Dermot Feeney on the life and career of Big M, Dylan Manawyddan Jones, a Welsh rugby star whose sporting career came to a dramatic and untimely end with the death of his brother Ben. After that Big M's life has been a chequered one - running a hotel on the wild coast of Wales, then a pub, setting up a shoe shop and various other enterprises, always moving on to somewhere new after falling foul of the locals. As he scrolls through, and then deletes, the information on Feeney's memory sticks, Llwyd begins to discover links between his life and Big M's.
Seren's series of New Tales from the Mabinogion aims to take the old Welsh folk tales of heroes and kings and re-imagine them in a modern setting, so who better to take the place of a god-like hero than a Welsh rugby star?
See How They Run is a re-telling of the Third Branch of the Mabinogion: Manawyddan son of Llyr, and is actually one of the tales with which I was at least vaguely familiar - I've even read a previous re-working in Not For All The Gold In Ireland by John James - so I could see where the plot was going, how and where it fitted around the old one. What I didn't grasp while reading was why the story was told at second or even third hand as Llwyd read the story through Feeney's notes. Having finished, I read the afterword which helped slot things into place - so maybe just this once I should have read that first.
Maryom's review - 3.5 stars
Publisher - Seren Books
Genre - adult literary fiction, folk tales
Buy See How They Run (New Stories from the Mabinogion)