What a great read! For me a good read takes me somewhere and this book transported me to South Wales and drew me into the lives of the Morgan family and their community. I think what I liked best were Huw's good memories of growing up, even in some very hard times. The closeness of the family (even in the midst of disagreements) and the community (in spite of some individuals who were not at all nice) made me wish life were more like that today. I wouldn't want to live in a mining town, to say the least, but I sure would like to live in an environment with some of those family and community values. Anyway, I liked the book so much I got the DVD from Netflix, just to get another perspective. I enjoyed the film as well, but am SO GLAD I read the book first.
This is a lovely,lovely book. I first saw the movie, then read the book. I loved the movie, and the book was even better. The writing has a Welsh cadence that is really beautiful. His descriptions and his characters will stay with you forever. The coal mining families had difficult lives, but there was such a beauty in the everyday life of the Welsh valley and the family closeness. I got my future husband to read it after I read it and he's not someone who loves to read, but he thanked me for giving him the book. We told one of his friends about it and he read it and thanked us for telling him about it. It is among my top ten favorites of all the books I've ever read - and I've read a LOT of books!
Though a vivid portrayal of Welch life, I found it hard to fully get into the flow of the language of this book, the middle bogs down, with a bit too much repetition, and some characters are glossed over a little too much for my liking.
Llewelyn draws the picture of life for Huw Morgan and the hardscrabble life of his brothers, parents and friends in a very difficult time. Coal mining is what the Morgan family was all about, this was their life, their valley and their existence so when the mining companies make the Morgan family's way of living unbearable, the Morgan boys had no choice but to rise up against the oppression and there goes the beauty that was once their lives.
Huw makes this story come alive. Through the eyes of the innocent, then the dawning adolescence and finally the man that has been through love and heartbreak, we see the valley that Huw loved so much. Llwelyn's first person narrative allows us to see each character through Huw's eyes. The eyes that grow with time and with maturity.
I can see the charm of this book growing with each reader. There are many layers and with each readers personal experiences each will see this book differently. If you have read it in the past, re-read it again and you will see why this book is a classic.