On leaving school a sixteen-year-old boy goes to live with his uncle on a remote Welsh hill-farm. His aunt has recently committed suicide after losing her livestock in the foot-and-mouth epidemic and his uncle has turned, once again, to the bottle. The boy is a spiritual savant: an unwitting repository of folk memory from the margins, barely educated but possessed of extraordinary insights; barely literate but able to speak a language of his own - a poetry laden with Pagan and Christian myth.
He is unaware that he is gifted and unaware of what he knows. But during one of his ecstatic trances, the boy learns that he has an appointed role in the world, which he must discover for himself. During an episode of brutal and climactic violence, he does exactly that.
Told through the boy's internal monologue of beauty and damage, Runt is a powerful, disturbing and moving novel that reinvigorates the language of fiction and illuminates domestic tragedy with a penetrating epic light.