If people are geographical beings, what can fiction tell us about this truth? This book explores how literature can help us understand the nature of the relations between people and place, how humans create connections between their identities and their geographies, and how these can be threatened and lost. Literature is an important, if unusual, way to explore these relations. At once centred in imagination and ideas, fiction is also indelibly connected to, as well as influenced by, the geographies in which it is set. As this book argues, the relationship between fiction and location is so important that it is often difficult to know which is imagined and which is real. Exploring the relations between people and place through fiction writing set in Wales,
Page and Place garners poetic insight into how places are written into our stories, and how these stories take and make the places around us. The book introduces the notion of ‘plot’ to describe the complex entanglement between fiction and geography, and to help understand the role that places play in defining human identity.
Chapter 1. Crossing the breach between page and place: illuminating the relations between location and identity
Part I. Capital Cardiff Chapter 2. Stalking the soul of the city: a finchian plotline through Cardiff Bay Chapter 3. Plotting relations: writing roots into the heart of Cardiff Chapter 4. Edge(y) territories: the hyperlocal world of Lloyd Robson Chapter 5. Tessa Hadley’s Roath: the meeting place of suburban dreams
Part II. Kaleidoscopic Aberystwyth Chapter 6. At the spinning extremes of existence: the thriving boiling seething places of Niall Griffiths Chapter 7. One part memory and one part imagination: the entangled plots of Richard Collins Chapter 8. Poetic refraction and stovepipe hats: the gumshoe mystery that is Malcolm Pryce’s Aberystwyth
Part III. Nations Chapter 9. Reading gave me worlds: Gillian Clarke’s autobiographical plotlines Chapter 10. Durability and change: eternity and belonging in the plots of Grahame Davies
Part IV. Borderlands Chapter 11. Entangling Owen Sheers: ‘a conversation of place and page over time’ Chapter 12. Geography is destiny: Who and where is Iain Sinclair? Bibliography