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Nightgown and Other Stories (Corgi Series: 10)

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Manylion a Disgrifiad y Llyfr | Book Details & Description

  • ISBN: 9780863817106
  • Author: Rhys Davies
  • Publication October 2003
  • Edited by Meic Stephens
  • Format: Paperback, 103x148 mm, 96 pages

A pocket-size collection of short stories by the London-based Rhondda-born author who died in 1978. Much of the material for the author's work derives from his upbringing in the Valley.

Gwales Review
These short stories are snapshots of life in an early twentieth century Welsh mining village. They tell of poverty, hard labour, the difference between the roles of men and women, and the amusements of their leisure time. Men worked the mines, earned the money, and spent most of it in the pub or on the dogs. They took an interest in football and rugby and some travelled as far as London in support of their national teams.

Women worked in the home, cleaning and cooking and endlessly washing grimy pit clothes. They were aware of fashion even if their household budget barely covered the cost of food. Window shopping could become an intoxicating trip to fantasy land when it would take a year to save up to buy a nightdress.

Rhys Davies spent his childhood in one such mining village in the Rhondda valley. The details of village life were branded on his memory and influenced his writing throughout his life, even though he spent most of his adult years outside Wales. His first-hand experience makes his stories ring true. He had no need to embellish or dramatise. He writes clearly and simply, adding a little dialect here and there for flavour, letting his characters speak for themselves and giving the reader a share of his omniscient viewpoint.

Rhys Davies writes on the themes of marital and parental relationships, death, class, greed, selfishness and fear, both from the point of view of adults and of children. His stories often contain a twist at the end. He is skilful in leading the reader along with a sure hand to reach the intended destination but without guessing all too soon. His descriptions are colourful, concise and fresh. Look out for the rugby match which Rhys Davies describes as fifteen red beetles pitted against fifteen white beetles surrounded by a crowd of buzzing insects eagerly following the progress of the sacred egg.

Catriona Jackson