Manylion a Disgrifiad y Llyfr | Book Details & Description
- ISBN: 9780863817052
- Author: Alun Richards
- Publication March 2003
- Edited by Meic Stephens
- Format: Paperback, 148x105 mm, 112 pages
A collection of four short stories by Alun Richards demonstrating his exceptional ability to portray the diverse facets of human nature in both comic and sad circumstances, including short biographical notes.
Alun Richards has published six novels and two collections of short stories. In his Foreword, Meic Stephens describes him as 'the supreme chronicler of life in the valleys of south Wales in the post-war period':
'There is a comic side to his work, but also a serious concern for social decline and the hedonistic world of rugby, beauty contests, television companies, broken marriages, middle-class pretension, and the way in which the Welsh language has become more and more irrelevant to those who do not speak it.'
This little book, the first in the Corgi series to be devoted entirely to prose fiction, contains four stories. In 'One Life', on the day of her baker husband's funeral, Lydia Skuse ruminates on her life and refuses the offer of her sister-in-law to come and live with herself and her husband on the south Wales coast. In 'Sweethearts', Theo and Evie entertain an old schoolmate, Howell Bendrix, who has come over from London to give a talk at his old school. Howell can think of nothing but his childhood sweetheart Maisie Beach, who jilted him. In 'Effie', an Englishwoman married to a Welshman ponders the affair with a black Police Commissioner that precipitated their abrupt departure from Nairobi. Meanwhile, to her relief, her husband fails to get the job that would have brought them back to Wales. In 'The Scandalous Thoughts of Elmyra Mouth', the valley-born and -bred wife of a BBC cameraman worries that a night out with the boys will lead him astray.
Three of the stories work through the thoughts of female characters, while the other frames a crucial act of remembering by a fourth. All deal with marriages and their contentments or discontentments. Only the resilient workhouse girl Lydia is at ease with the (limited) satisfactions life has given her, and this because her upbringing taught her to expect nothing.
This is a strong introduction to Alun Richards's work.