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Fiction

The colour of a dog running away

Musician and translator Lucas has reformed his nomadic ways to settle in Barcelona’s
Gothic Quarter. Intrigued by some cryptic instructions on the back of an anonymous postcard, Lucas finds himself compelled into a love-affair with the sophisticated Nuria. But his attraction is obsessive and vulnerable in turns: can we trust this man’s version of the story?

After meeting the sublimely liberated Roof People, events spin out of control. He is abducted to the Pyrenees, apparently to the heart of a Cathar Sect exterminated during the thirteenth century. Back in the city’s underbelly, tableaux of fire-eaters, drop-outs and bewildered friends accompany Lucas as he degenerates into drug and alcohol-fuelled nihilism.

Barcelona and The Colour of a Dog: some thoughts

In 2005 ‘The Colour of a Dog Running Away’ was a Book of the Year for both The Independent  and Waterstones. In 2007 it received the Welsh Books Council Publishers Award for fiction.

Quotes from Reviews of ‘The Colour of a Dog Running Away’

“Clever, stylish and supremely entertaining ... this novel offers a feast of sophisticated pleasures and a taste of deeper passions too.”
~Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

“This is an excellent read. It is cleverly written, dark and funny. Richard Gwyn has entwined a diverse group of characters; given each their own part on his stage, and provided the reader with front row seats at the theatre.”  ~The Scotsman

“At once an absurdist riddle, a romantic quest, and a love letter to our anti-hero’s chosen home, Gwyn’s witty and assured first novel is as much about the different ways you can tell a story as it is about the story itself.” 
~The New Yorker

“Evokes the exhilarating unpredictability of urban life ... Gwyn's plot is humming.”
~Washington Post

“Superior lifestyle porn.” 
~The Times

“This strange and beautiful book ...”
~Big Issue

“The best novel of the year.”
~Scott Pack, The Bookseller

“Gwyn's writing, immediate but with a runic quality, is engaging. Many readers who do not normally respond to the term ‘philosophical love story’ should enjoy this one.”
Nicholas Clee, The Guardian

“This hugely enjoyable book.”
~The Times

“Gwyn’s ability to convey the richness of his subject - ultimately the city of Barcelona - with such elegant, understated prose gives the novel much of its strength. With a wide-angle lens his Barcelona is phantasmagorical, like one of Calvino’s Invisible cities. A quietly beautiful novel.” 
~Spoiled Ink

“It had me gripped from the first page. That clear resonant prose has an hypnotic effect. You have come up with your own individual version of ancient archetypes and reworked them in an entertaining story which draws the reader into a startling range of moods – meditative, comic, sexy, suspenseful, always enigmatic – and won’t let go precisely because it is so well-written. There’s so little fiction about that excites me these days that it’s a joy to find a book I couldn’t put down.” 
~Lindsay Clarke (Whitbread Prizewinner, author of The Chymical Wedding, The War at Troy, The Return to Troy etc. in letter to the author)

“One of the most unique, absorbing reads to emerge for quite some time ... [the book’s] unflinching originality and readability give it a charm entirely its own – its headspinning climax is particularly wonderful, and, much like the rest of the book, confusing, engrossing, and utterly enjoyable. Basically it kicks the shit out of the Da Vinci Code.
~Quench Magazine

The Colour of a Dog Running Away heralds a welcome change from traditional linear narratives ... a literary hybrid that combines the high energy and intrigue characteristic of the detective novel with the fast pace and spontaneous action of a cinematic thriller.”
~New Welsh Review

“A magical and memorable first novel by one of our most gifted contemporary poets.”
~Welsh Literature Abroad

“Full of good stuff ... short measured sentences and dreamlike dialogue ... Gwyn’s Barcelona is one of uncertainty and magic, filled with darkly comic characters both prophetic and pathetic. Every encounter and detail of city life, precisely and unhurriedly recorded, seems significant ...” 
~Time Out

“Gwyn leaves many of his mysteries veiled, while providing enough detail to avert readers from a head start ... Beautifully precise.”
~Newsday

“A delightful cornucopia of thriller trappings, history lessons, existential ruminations and cheeky asides ... Destined to be a cult classic.”                        
~Philadelphia City Paper

“Gwyn's fiction debut showcases sure-footed versatility and care with language, the poet's fingerprints on every word.”
~The Oregonian

“This novel can only be deemed ‘gloriously unclassifiable.’ With a sumptuous Barcelona setting, ruminations on the nature of identity, a secret history, kidnapping, cults and unreliable storytelling, wrapped up in a prose style that packs at least 4 paragraphs into a single one, Gwyn’s debut is impossible to get out of your head and absolutely worth the time to red and unspool each new revelation.”
~Sarah Weinman, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind

“This level of incendiary creativity is extremely rare, and more satisfying because of the restraint and controlled precision with which pyrotechnics of plot are kept in check by the cool command of the writing . . . The clarity of the expression is often startling, the interplay of ideas and the deft interweave of past and present invariably satisfying, but the strength of this remarkable novel is in its leaps of imagination, and in the understated audacity of its creative spark. Richard Gwyn deserves a wide readership.”
~Ben McNally, Booklounge

“A wild but entertaining ride through historic Barcelona ...The writing is delicious.”
~Deseret Morning News

Click here for New Yorker review