review by Maryom
Growing up in Swansea, Jennie has had her fill of both Dylan Thomas and poetry, but when she meets aspiring poet Peter, she soon puts her prejudice aside and finds even an open mic poetry evening can be ok so long as she can be with Peter. Sadly, the course of true love doesn't run smooth and after a fiasco at the Swansea carnival parade, Peter turns sullen and ignores her. Help is at hand for Jennie though, in the unlikely guise of Dylan Thomas - or at least his ghost - who claims he can help her win Peter's heart, but first Jennie has to help Thomas with his plans....
Although Gwyneth Lewis is a former Welsh National Poet, with several poetry collections and non-fiction books to her name, the only work of hers I've read is The Meat Tree , a sci-fi re-working of the Blodeuwedd myth for Seren's Mabinogion series, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Advantages of the Older Man. It probably isn't something I'd have picked up for myself but, when offered it for review, it sounded quirky and funny so I said yes - and I'm so glad I did.
Advantages of the Older Man is a novella-length ghost story; not a scary one that leaves you afraid of the dark or wary of the noises in the attic, but a light-hearted, entertaining one - more Beetlejuice than The Woman in Black.
Dylan Thomas isn't as you would expect him to be either. His drunken lifestyle and moody Celtic image were apparently just an act for the punters - his real self is quieter, homelier and into long-distance running! While pursuing his own ends, he leads Jennie off on a whirlwind trip to the US where nothing goes remotely to plan but we discover the real reason behind Thomas's return from beyond the grave.
It's darkly funny, filled throughout with wry humour and cleverly written with an unexpected twist at the end; an unusual find, but one I really enjoyed.
Maryom's review - 4.5 stars
Publisher - Seren Books
Genre - adult ghost stories, humour