Stump: A Novel

Stump makes you feel that you are reading on the edge of a life in a fierce gale, vulnerable, excited, alive.”—TheGuardian (London)

Wet an spectacular wreckage leads to “powerful forgetting” which leads to “periodics” which lead to the “dry drunks” which go to “immersion” an “enabler” an “therapeutic alliance” an any alternative, any fuckin alternative atropine aversion therapy or Antabuse or ECT or acufuckinpuncture or snakepits or swimming with dolphins an all of that all of it comes completely back to this one pure irreducible phenomenon: a booming heart that burns to drink.

It has taken the loss of a limb and a death threat from the Mob to make one Liverpudlian dry out and move to a small seaside town in Wales. But his past life is a recurring nightmare—filth, desperation, and blackouts. And more trouble is only a hundred miles away. Darren and Alastair leave Liverpool, heading south in a rickety old car. They have been sent by their gang boss to wreak violent revenge, but they have only a rough idea of their quarry: a one-armed man.

Interspersed between the scabrous banter and a pitch-perfect street dialect, Niall Griffiths offers stunning descriptions of the Welsh landscape and a dark, knowing humor. Despite the ever present drugs, violence, and anger, he reveals a fragile humanity. Graywolf is proud to introduce this striking, distinctive voice to American readers.

Reviews from

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By Jenn (Oklahoma City, OK) · ★★★★★ · April 18, 2011
Niall Griffiths was born in Liverpool and has since moved to Aberystwyth. Both towns have a strong hold on his imagination. His first two novels were set on the west coast of Wales, his third, Stump, re-visited his native city.

Stump is a surprisingly gentle novel, despite the harshness of two of... ...more
By Daniel · ★★★★☆ · March 20, 2013
This isn't a book for everyone, but the quirky mix of literary quality and disturbingly graphic humour was right up my alley. I am without a doubt the intended audience here. I can't begin to explain how good that feels. The best I can manage is to say it's like walking into a stranger's house wh... ...more
By Siobhan (Epping, NH) · ★★★★★ · December 21, 2011
Ripped through this one after grading was finished. Niall Griffiths writes like nobody else; he's compared to Irvine Welsh, but he is never as mean-spirited as Welsh can be. Griffiths treats his characters--working-class, addicts and alcoholics, disabled, even thugs--with great compassion, even t... ...more
By Harry (Ipswich, N5, The United Kingdom) · ★★☆☆☆ · March 28, 2015
It was ok, the language flitted between speech and story, the speech language slowed me down, changed the rhythm of the book, took away from the story, I'm not talking about the the strong words but the writing to try and convey a dialect/accent. The story though was good and the ending I liked a... ...more
By Tuck (Stillwater, OK) · ★★★★☆ · November 23, 2011
a surprisingly gentle novel about a very fucked up dude who is adjusting to his one-armedness, small town (wales) life by the shore, and being out of the dark life, and giving up booze. but then his old life comes for a visit as two bad guys from the city, sent to mess him up. a good entre for pe... ...more
By Deb (Honolulu, HI) · ★★★☆☆ · September 29, 2009
Even though I felt I had to purge myself of the profane words after I finished reading it (it's over-the-top excessive), I still have to admit it was a profound read. ...more