Stephen had seemed enthusiastic about the walk, when Benny first invited him. He kept going on about how amazing it’d be, the two of them out in the wilderness – the landscape shots, the pubs, etc., etc.
Benny didn’t interrupt this stream of enthusiasm. They were in the car park of the Miners, and Benny was too busy concentrating on his own stream of piss. He didn’t think about it at all until the next morning.
When he remembered inviting Stephen, Benny laughed out loud – a single ha – then spent three minutes silent-screaming into his pillow.
Benny thought that it would be him and his dad doing the walk. Just him and his father, hiking through the Welsh countryside, like they used to.
Only, when his dad got ill, it became obvious that this would never happen. So Benny was forced to consider other options.
If Benny is honest, him and Stephen haven’t been close since school, but once Benny had drunkenly blurted out the invitation, he couldn’t take it back.
Now Benny and Stephen are on the walk. A walk Benny has vowed to finish, no matter how hard it is. But as food runs low and money runs out, Stephen and Benny find themselves stranded on the edge of the world, far from home, where the possibility of return is becoming increasingly distant…
A modern picaresque that will grab and guide you through some of Britain's last remaining wildernesses, both inner and outer: the Wales/England border, the ransacked sociopolitical contract, the crisis of contemporary masculinity and its effect on all kinds of interpersonal relationships, the crags and quicksands of the soul. It is compelling and propulsive from the serene and optimistic beginning all the way to the stricken end. Fantastic. -- Niall Griffiths A mad picaresque across Wales which is promising a twist that I know is coming but just can't guess from which direction. I'm half way through it and enjoying every step of the journey. * Wales Art Review * 'One of the most stunning debuts I've read in a long time. The talent behind it is huge.' -- Helen Walsh, author of The Lemon Grove Alice and the Fly is a darkly quirky story of love, obsession and fear. A disconcerting but beautiful story hung around the enchanting and heartbreaking voice of teenager Greg. -- Anna James, The Bookseller 'A beautifully written, haunting, evocative and immensely accomplished tale... this is a novel that demands that you make people read it - James Rice is one to watch. Don't miss it.' -- Liz Loves Books 'This is a dark and intriguing story of love, obsession and fear - a Captivating Read *****' * OK! * A powerful novel * Closer * A stunning and fresh debut * Big Issue in the North * Fresh, original and a bit crazy * Red * Enchanting * Inside Soap * 'This is a novel about loneliness, and Rice vividly evokes the isolation of all those trapped inside the need to present a socially valid exterior. His writing is fuelled by a powerful sense of empathy, even for those whose aspirations he so expertly ridicules. For all the bleakness it portrays Alice and the Fly is an oddly uplifting novel' * Guardian * 'At times uncomfortable but always captivating. A wonderful debut novel - Greg's unique voice will stay with you long after the shocking climax.' * Bella * Rice's stylistic verve and skillful storytelling make us keen to discover if we're right to be fearful for his characters, while also raising pertinent questions about social divisions and the way outsiders are treated today * Independent * 'Alice and the Fly is a stunning novel but as a debut work it is outstanding, marking out James Rice as a new talent to watch. This is a vivid and profoundly disturbing book which will stay with you long after you have closed it. Tremendously dark at times, it also pulls off the rare trick of being funny and engaging' -- We Love this Book 'It's incredible... The best thing!' -- Scot Williams, Actor
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