17 February 2018

Another Welsh book down!

I clearly don't have the same taste as my Welsh teacher. We had worked through a literature-themed chapter in Welsh class, and Elwyn had mentioned two books in particular: firstly, 'Un nos olau leuad', which was considered the best Welsh book ever. I find that quite believable! But he also advertised 'Fydd, Gobaith, Cariad', which he said was his personal favourite ever. Well worth the try! And it's quite thick (nearly 350 pages) so it would take a while.

I've finished it now, many months later. I'm not very impressed! I found the characters a bit one-dimensional. It deals with a socially awkward young man, and his bully brother. The former still lives at home at a fairly advanced age. And then his parents take his grandfather in; the chap is in poor health and they don't like the idea of him living in a care home.

You get this story line in parallel with another story line, a few years later, when the same young man is released from prison. He has nowhere to go to; his brother is still a bully and his parents have died in the meantime. He wanders to the cemetery where they are buried, and falls asleep there. In the morning he is found by the cemetery caretaker, who offers him temporary residence in the cemetery shed.

You then get the two stories leapfrogging each other. The author keeps it unmentioned until the very end why he was in prison in the first place, but the signs are there quite early on. I saw it coming from a mile away. And I didn't find the interactions with the guy and his brother, after the main character's release, very convincing. And his relationship with the caretaker goes a bit cartoonish too. The only named women are the guy's mother and sister-in-law, and they don't really come off the page either. Oh well! I have finished it now. And I have got some solid Welsh practice. I'm sure I can give the book to someone else in my class!

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