DAFYDD by Haydn Stephens

DAFYDD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The bawdy, prankish, modestly appealing Welsh boyhood of Dafydd the pub-keeper's son. In the small mining village of Llantwrch--six pubs, six churches--Dafydd grows up among grand liars, unstudied eccentrics, and kitchen philosophers. He has his favorites, especially the lovely Gwyneth, Dai the Carpenter, and the hapless Gwynfor, caught masturbating and accidentally electrocuted by an enraged, ecclesiastical wife. There are poignant moments (the death of a baby brother to meningitis and, later, a best friend to the mines) and cheerless ones (the vengeful castration of a dead sister's villainous husband), but for the most part these are adolescent high times and misdemeanors: snatches of Communion wine, itching powder in a girl's bloomers, an inopportune piss over the urinal wall, and a few too many convenient peephole glimpses of adults in action. Before age twenty: marriage to Gwyneth and the prized inheritance of the carpenter's bench. ""Only birds and Welshmen do not have to learn how to sing,"" and, indeed, Stephens has a fine natural voice for this upbeat, happily ended entertainment.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1978
Publisher: Crown