Somewhere in the ancient history of 2015 this collection of short stories was published, and praised, and Mr Thomas Morris, (educated in Welsh only, as you will find noted everywhere) was asked to give his opinion on all sorts of things writing. Possibly rightly so. It was then that I read some of his clever remarks, I keep them in a file, not-so-neatly-stored on the desktop. So ever since this early age, everytime I start up my computer, the words “We don’t know what we are doing –Thomas Morris” are in front of me.
That would be enough to procrastinate reading. The stakes so high that disappointment seems inevitable.
Welcome to the village of Caerphilly, South Wales. Accidentally also the place Thomas grew up, and by now I would imagine, a bustling place of literary tourism (admitted, I google-imaged it) and not only the random Japanese tourist as mentioned in the story “Big Pit”.
In the opening story “Bolt” Andy, who still lives at his ex-mother-in-law, despite his ex-girlfriend leaving Caerphilly for some bigger City, is working his last hours at a closing video-rental place. Yep, that’s right. Remember there once were those places? Where you would go and rent a VHS? Of course they’ve closed down, we all have neat little portable devices, or big flatscreens to resemble a home cinema. So obviously, these shops had to close. Their employees had to lose their jobs. That’s life. That’s Andy’s life.
Andy doesn’t seem to be having big thoughts about it though, nor about anything else, for that matter, but that doesn’t hinder the story in the slightest. It’s a terrific read, following Andy and his lazy-mind observations when he gets picked up by one of the loyal customers, a 57 year old psychiatrist who’s technically a counselor.
The stories are humane, and sad, extremely funny and quite clever, they are full with normal-life scenes in extraordinary plain settings. Morris’ brushes it all off though, and adds some shimmer and glitter to it so the reader finds herself soaking it up and looking at it all with fresh and excited eyes.