Archana Ram
September 07, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

For the last eight years, Miyuki Woodward and her girlfriend, Grindl, have spent two weeks apart every year to nip any buds of codependency. While Grindl journeys to San Francisco one year and Greece the next, Miyuki returns to the same nearby Welsh town each February. There she finds peace with beer, microwaveable food, and conversations with local barflies Mr. Puw, tall Mr. Hughes, and short Mr. Hughes. But on this trip, Miyuki makes an impulsive move to spray-paint a rock gold. What follows in Gold are a confusing series of events, including the disappearance of Tall Mr. Hughes, that author Dan Rhodes fails to connect. The characters are potentially endearing, but the plot development is spotty. C

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