Pugnacious Little Trolls

Publisher: Cockatrice Books, 2021 | ISBN: 978-1912368242 | Format: 20.3×12.7cm paperback | Length: 132 pages | Price: £6.99.

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Pugnacious Little Trolls was published by Cockatrice Books in 2021 as part of the Wales in Europe series, celebrating the past and future of Wales as an independent nation. It was chosen by Emyr Humphreys, writing for The White Review, as his Book of the Year for 2023.

Let history know that in the ninetieth year of our habitation, the people adjacent to Angle C mounted an expedition against the peoples of Angle A and Angle B, whose chants and imprecations were a nuisance by day, and whose concupiscence disturbed our sleep by night. Let it show that we marched from the vertex of Angle C towards the hypotenuse, broke in two at the point where our territory met theirs, and set upon their people in their lechery and slumber, just as the light was increasing. Let history know also that People A and People B sued for peace, and ceded to us one third of their territories along the Euler line. Finally, let it tell that we evicted the people we found there, set up camp at the median M of the hypotenuse, brought our supplies and settlers from Angle C, and so established our civilisation in the farthest corner of our new territory. Towards the third meal there was a brief uprising. Fighters from Angle B advanced towards Point M, meeting their allies from Angle A: attacked from both sides, our settlers defended themselves with cooking pots and knives, killed some, and took others captive, whom they stripped and bound at hand and foot, beating them as the light decreased, until their groans and curses echoed through the Triangle.

In his first three short-story collections, Rob Mimpriss painstakingly mapped the unregarded lives of Welsh small-town and country-dwellers. In Pugnacious Little Trolls, he combines the skill and quiet eloquence of his earlier work with confident experimentation, with stories set among the bird-bodied harpies of Central America, among the dog-headed Cynocephali of Central Asia, among humanity’s remote descendants at the very end of the universe, and in the muddle of slag-heaps and job centres that H. G. Wells’s Country of the Blind has become. In the three stories at the heart of the collection is Tanwen, idealistic and timid, embarking on her adult life in the shadow of global warming and English nationalism.

‘Where is the Welsh short story going? Wherever Rob Mimpriss takes it.’

John O’Donoghue

‘freely and fiercely inventive short stories… supercharged with ideas’

Jon Gower, Nation Cymru

‘Beyond question Wales’s finest and most subtle short-story writer working today... A work of great beauty and subtle force, a fine, distinctive voice.’

Jim Perrin

‘bathed in white fire in every sense… Borges would happily own them.’

Gee Williams

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