Secret Sex Life of Polly Garter, The
Disgrifiad | Description
- ISBN: 9780863818882
- Author: Tom Davies
- Publication April 2004
- Format: Paperback, 180 x 123 mm, 328 pages
A hilarious novel portraying the lives of the inhabitants of New Quay especially their wild lovemaking during World War II when Dylan and Caitlin Thomas lived in the seaside village for a period.
In The Secret Sex Life of Polly Garter Davies presents an irreverent romp in the style of a comic farce. The theme of the book is well represented by the external cover; the front design, by Dylan Williams, depicts a scantily-clad fantasy female seated on a German U-boat torpedo. If the cover and title appeals to you, then so probably will the book.
Davies is a much published and award-winning author, and wisely starts his book with a huge disclaimer; that this is a work of fiction, based on the time when Thomas stayed in New Quay and may have influenced the writing of Under Milk Wood. Davies then goes on to state twice that none of it is true.
The story starts with Dylan and Caitlin Thomas arriving in New Quay, and ends with them leaving in the dead of night. In between there are escapades involving a myriad of characters in various capers, many of them sexual in nature. The pace of the book is fast, with quick changes between the various characters and their storylines. Dylan is presented in an earthy way – drunk, scratching and inadequate as a lover – while Caitlin is described as a foul-mouthed and wanton woman. Dolly, the implied inspiration for Polly, is the tart with a heart.
The blurb on the back of the book says that this is a novel to upset everyone, and this does seem to have been the author's aim; New Quay is described as a 'dump' and Aberystwyth fares no better. Members of Plaid Cymru will probably be upset by the depiction of Saunders Lewis and members of the Thomas family with the descriptions of Dylan and Caitlin. Given that this is a story based on a location, with a particular historical and literary association, I wonder who would be left to buy the book. The language is crude and course, the sex scenes seedy and pornographic. The humour seems to have been intended to come from characters uttering profanities or of putting them in ludicrous or shocking situations, rather than from a clever wit. Overall, this was a tedious and dull read and not particularly funny.