book cover of Tag


A novel by

Mistyann is fifteen, unpredictable, unreliable and violent. She's also gifted. And now she's on her way to Wales for a special residential course for talented youth. An American psychologist wants to unlock her potential, help her become the person that she's always dreamt of being. God help Wales. God help us all.

Jonathan Diamond is forty-one. Looks a bit like Tom Cruise and he's going to Wales too. A failed musician and a recovering alcoholic he's now an Advanced Skills Teacher and he'll be in loco parentis for the week. Together the two of them develop an unlikely and dangerous alliance as they are forced to confront difficult truths about themselves.

Part bleakly comic confession, part twisted romance, at heart an elegy for dreams that refuse to die, TAG is the fast-moving, at times shocking, story of two lives turned upside down by reckless moments and impulses that won't be denied. Full of wit, drama and an eye for the absurdities of the way we live now, TAG is a memorable debut novel.

"Energy, wit, bile - May can really write."
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

"Tag is a cracking story which also has important things to say about youth; about middle age; about what it means to be considered gifted; about Wales and England, as well as some withering, satirical comment about contemporary life. It is also, in parts, very funny indeed. And in the character of Mistyann, Stephen May has created a thoroughly modern smalltown Miss. A motormouth underclass Holden Caulfield, if you will. A vividly alive fusion of wit, beauty and instinctive defiance of authority. A character who will linger in the mind long after you have finished the book."
Ray French

Stephen May is a hard-headed day-dreamer, always cynical but ever hopeful. He's been a barman, warehouseman, museum attendant, low-level council flunkey, teacher, centre director of the Arvon Foundation's Lumb Bank centre and TV writer. He became a Dad while still at college and spent several years in a series of low paid menial jobs, struggling to support his family. He used to drink a lot and spend a lot of time chasing women around, but found, like Flaubert, that it is best to "be a bourgeois in your life, so that you can be an anarchist in your art." You get more done and it's more interesting in the long run. Steve lives in West Yorkshire with his wife and two youngest children. He is currently working on another novel (Life, Death, Prizes).

Genre: Literary Fiction

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Paperback Editions

September 2008 : UK Paperback

Title: TAG
Author(s): Stephen May
ISBN: 1-905614-37-3 / 978-1-905614-37-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Cinnamon Press
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   

Kindle Editions

May 2012 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: TAG
Author(s): Stephen May
Publisher: Cinnamon Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU