THE JOURNEYING BOY by Jon Manchip White


Scenes from a Welsh Childhood
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 White (Death by Decree, 1981, etc.; English/Univ. of Tenn.) takes a loving look at his boyhood home and comes up proud to be a Welshman. Born in Cardiff in 1924, and educated in English schools and universities in the 1930's and 40's, White views his Welsh nature and English nurture as a source of strength, providing a happy blend of romance and reality. At age 64, he makes a pilgrimage to his native land, quite possibly his last visit, and shares the thoughts and memories evoked by what he finds there. A good deal of Welsh history, from the Bronze Age on, is thrown in to give the reader the right perspective on matters Welsh, but primarily the story is a personal one--White's recollections of his now- dead parents and his uncles and aunts, his remembrances of old friends and mentors, his anguish over the present plight of his invalid wife back in America, and his regrets and satisfactions in the face of the changes--and sometimes the lack of change--he finds in Cardiff and the other places he journeys to. ``Journeying'' is an appropriate title term, for the text wanders about rather freely as White discourses on whatever pleases him. At times he goes off track, as when he inexplicably devotes a lengthy section to a discussion of the rigors of American football; perhaps the untamed Welsh side of his nature occasionally takes the upper hand, and the rational English side temporarily loses control over his whims. An engaging and personal look into the past of a man who may not yet have come to terms with himself--but who at least is clear about his love for his homeland.

Pub Date: Aug. 28th, 1991
ISBN: 0-87113-460-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1991