I just finished a GREAT book that my friend Josiah recently gave to me, How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn.  This is a bit of fiction set in Wales in about a generation around the turn of the twentieth century.  The novel is told from the viewpoint of Huw Morgan, the main character and youngest son of the coal-mining, God-fearing Morgan family and is largely an elegy to people place and way of life that no longer exist.

Huw speaks of his childhood with beautiful, rose-colored fondness and the picture he paints both help the reader mourn their loss and celebrate it’s transience.  The story follows the decline of coal mining as an industry, and the Morgan family can be viewed almost as a barometer for the village’s prosperity and happiness.  The family slowly separates as the sons marry and move, and the town likewise feels a decline.  The brothers return home for a season and the town also experiences a brief and renewed contentment.  The analogy follows till the story’s end (SPOILER ALERT) when Huw’s Father dies in a mine collapse while trying to fix stuff during a large strike.

Llewellyn writes beautifully.  His prose crosses into poetry, and he taps into universal feelings within his reader.  The book is long-ish (450 pages) but it is an easy and captivating read and I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a good fiction story.  PS. Thanks to my buddy Josiah, for giving me this book.

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