'There are good writers, there are very good writers. And there is Stevie Davies, who is in a class of her own' Independent
Mara and Frankie are cousins and best friends, growing up in the stifling atmosphere of Swansea in the 1950s, amid the tight knot of an extended family that thrives on gossip, petty feuds and innuendo. Inseparable as children, the two girls develop a strange co-dependent relationship in which love, jealousy, hate and rivalry intermingle, especially when both develop an attachment to their cousin Aaron. Mara is shy and conventional whilst Frankie is effusive but incredibly needy - an emotional hunger that is accentuated when her father dies at an early age and her mother remarries. Their relationship becomes even more precarious as they reach adolescence in the heady atmosphere of the 60s - a decade in which notions of family and kinship are overturned. Together they are drawn to the idealism of 'free love' and social revolution. But the dream turns sour and a bitter battle of wills results. Years later, Mara sees a nostalgic television film that includes a clip of Frankie in her youth and this serves as a springboard to her past, forcing her to confront unanswered questions about her cousin's death.
The heroine of Stevie Davies's excellent new novel is first encountered as a 'sift of fine silver powder' being scattered to the wind from a South Wales cliff top by her cousins, Mara and Aaron..... But Nana loves little Frankie, and it's not hard to see why. Davies has captured the essence of this particular archetype superbly: the draining, manipulative charmer, forever needy, forever feral. - THE INDEPENDENT - Carol Birch
What's remarkable about KITH & KIN is Davies's sensual evocation of the intensity of family life, and the bonds of blood and love. - THE DAILY MAIL - Ned Denny
She has a special talent for cutting through the apparently ordinary and finding what is remarkable underneath and, in doing so, reveals deep truths about the extremes of human nature. - THE FINANCIAL TIMES - Katharine Sale
'Painting in varying shades of darkness with language of corrosive power, Davies turns the colourful, 1960s dream of a blissed-out, hippy Utopia on its head to depict a nightmarish countercultural dystopia. - METRO, LONDON - Tina Jackson
Davies has sown this brand of difficult love throughout KITH & KIN, leaving the reader breathless with its intensity. - THE SCOTSMAN - Emma Cowing
This is an ambitious novel about the ambiguity in all families. At its best in the girls' early years, it depicts in horrible reality the extraordinary community that lives out in a
Stevie Davies is the Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at Swansea University and is a novelist, historian and literary critic. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She has written many prize winning books including The Element of Water which was longlisted for both the Booker and Orange Prizes and won the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year award; and Kith and Kin, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize.