Wales Book of the Year 2022 – Shortlisted, Fiction Category
I Am the Mask Maker and other stories brings together eleven of Rhiannon Lewis’s compelling short stories. They transport us to places as varied as plague-ridden Renaissance Venice, a failing antiquarian bookshop in inner-city London, a struggling family farm in 1960s’ West Wales, and a soon to be discontinued Heaven where the angels are packing up to leave. Vividly drawn, with wit and subtlety, Lewis’s characters are determined not to be pawns in worlds where the odds are stacked against them; to thrive, they often come up with solutions that are unconventional and unexpected.
This collection includes: ‘The Significance of Swans’, shortlisted by the Bristol Prize in 2018, ‘The Last Flight of La Librairie d’Afrique du Nord’, shortlisted by the H.G. Wells Short Story Competition in 2020, ‘The Jugs Stay with the Dresser’, winner of Frome Festival’s short story competition in 2017, and ‘Piano Solo’, winner of the Adult Short Story category in the William Faulkner Literary Contest in 2020.
Rhiannon Lewis is the acclaimed author of My Beautiful Imperial, which was a Walter Scott Prize Academy recommended historical novel for 2018.
Mike Lewis –
Author Rhiannon Lewis gives us a sparkling jewel case of short stories in her latest collection I Am The Mask Maker (published by Victorina Press).
From plague ridden Venice to a rundown Welsh hill farm, these tales range across time periods, locations and scenarios with wit and vivacity.
Some of the stories stand out in particular – Oh, Hanami is a beautiful tale that weaves the Japanese tradition of viewing the cherry blossom with the wistfulness and vision of an old Welsh farmer.
Likewise the story Piano Solo manages to capture the brilliance of a virtuoso pianist in simply stunning prose: “His hands moved over the keys like shallow waves over rippling sands…now the notes were rivulets, rushing water funnelled between narrow channels..”
A superb collection from an accomplished writer.
Joanne Coughlan –
Picked this for a book club. Most successful choice so far. Everyone found it easy to read and even those that did t quite finish it could contribute. It prompted lots of discussion in the group as everyone had their favourite story. The characters are all interesting and the author totally immersed us into the lives of the characters. A great read – can’t recommend highly enough. Not usually a fan of short stories but this has changed my mind!