Welsh politics, Welsh roots, Welsh soul--in a mutteringly parochial but somewhat enlightening and curly-tongued tale about a young woman torn between the continuities of a go-nowhere Welsh village and the possible sterility of exile. Rhiannon McLennan and her sister Ruth live as teenagers with their parents: Lily, restless and ""married too long""; George, gentle, settled into life, satisfied with the ordinary. But, like Wales--""a mess of worked out and abandoned intentions, unfinished purpose, the untidy, drearily persistent surface""--the family can crumble. Lily leaves George for glamorous politician Henry Morelands (somehow ""non-Welsh""). Ruth will marry at 16, a stay-at-home with a good-natured, unambitious husband: ""life was closing down certain areas she had barely glimpsed."" And, after learning of her father's dark village secret, Rhiannon will barely escape rape by a murderous, drunken villager. But though Rhiannon then leaves for an English university, hoping to evade a stultifying destiny, she will return for a kind of Indian-summer renewal: her crabbed old grandfather, near death, has gained strength; a second family--Ruth, husband, baby--enfold her in belonging; there's even the tiny hope that she might reunite her parents. Finally, however, father George will die--and Rhiannon, accompanied by the man she truly loves, artist Felix Seward, watches the burning family house--a final cleansing gesture to a man and a home. The Welsh identity-crisis--a galaxy of complexities on a very small planet--set down with energy and the stereotypical lilt, occasionally too provincial for US readers (the political debates) but often acerbically engaging.
Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1982
Page Count: -
Publisher: William Heinemann--dist. by David & Charles