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How Green Was My Valley

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Merddyn Gruffydd, the preacher who is loved by Angharad, helps Huw recover from his illness, and is supportive of the Morgans. And, if you're me, you're having trouble seeing them because the tears are welling up so quickly and so close together. One such owner, Mr Evans, went to the same chapel as the Morgans and other miners, and Dada can be forgiven for thinking that decent chapel-goers can be made to listen to reason.

Sadly, Karen at Booker Talkhowever, pointed out that though born to Welsh parents, Richard Llewellyn is not considered a Welsh author and that he lied about being born in Wales! The morality of “Chapel” is show in the true light of day–some are sincere believers who act kindly, others are full of their own importance and take pains to put people down–just like today.

Ifor (pronounced eefor in the Welsh dialect)married the lovely Bronwen from the next valley,and they settled in a house just a few doors up from Mam and Dad (Gwilym and Beth). It was no doubt a true enough refection on how badly miners and other such workers were treated in those days, it really made me glad not to live in such crappy, hopeless times. BUT, it just felt so incredibly slow for most of the book, and I found the self righteousness of the characters (and of the time) to grow stale and repetitive. A classic of working-class literature, it reminded me in parts of “ The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists” and, while distressing quite a lot of the time, is very well worth reading.

Did the Morgan family ever reunite or keep in contact with each other or did they stay apart their whole lives? I still stubbornly would hype myself up about getting another couple chapters in, but inevitably would have to admit. As time moves on, we witness the family’s (and alongside, the village’s) ups and downs—weddings, the birth of children, Huw’s brothers moving in and out of the family home either on getting married, for work, or developing differences, Huw’s education and the path his life takes, the family’s involvement in union activities, and much else, as circumstances change and each begins to pursue their own path. And on page 234, after the poetry of the words fills your soul, you can whip up some brandy broth to fill your belly: "O Brandy Broth is the King of Broth and royal in the rooms of the mouth. When a rather wonderful preacher describes the facts of life to Huw without ever naming a body part I mostly viewed it with astonished admiration for the inventive circumlocutions.

I especially liked the emphasis on faith and the fact that the mother was so careful about planning for her family’s well-being. It is very strange to think back like this, although come to think of it, there is no fence or hedge round Time that has gone. The characters are so vividly portrayed that they come alive even though none of them is given a thorough physical description. There are electrifying passages, scintillating sentences, and all this time, there is a certain music in the background, a slow buzzing that means something. When Davy and Ianto leave home and aren't able to say goodbye to their mother, when Huw tries to rescue his father from the pit, his mother's cries.

Truly the most lyrical and beautiful book I have ever read, I'll be all set to pick it up again in another ten years or so. This story tells of the courage of the men who mined and the women who waited for them to come up from the mine and home.If you are a keen student of nostalgia and how the past is explored in literature, I strongly recommend How Green Was My Valley.

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